There was a huge sigh of relief around the lmpact Arena on Tuesday evening when Alfreton Town secured a 1-0 win over struggling North Ferriby United.
Billy Priestley’s 70th minute header was enough to send their fans home with a smile, although the breakthrough seemed destined not to arrive.
Many first half chances were created, but Alfreton will have felt aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty in the third minute when Ryan Jennings was impeded by Russell Fry, the move stemming from Bradley Wood’s astute pass and equally impressive lay-off by debutant striker Malachi Lavelle-Moore.
Cecil Nyoni dragged a decent chance wide after taking a return pass from Lavelle-Moore, then keeper Ross Durrant could not hold Tom Platt’s 20 yard drive in the sixth minute, but no-one was on hand to follow up.
Jennings then embarked on a run before firing straight at Durrant, then it was Wood’s turn to be denied by the keeper from distance as the chances racked up.
lt was 21 minutes before Ferriby could muster an attack themselves, Danny Emerton well wide from 25 yards, then as the Reds tried once more Jennings fired narrowly off target after another advance towards goal.
Lavelle-Moore had a golden opportunity on the half-hour when Crag Westcarr threaded the ball through to him, but failed to trouble Durrant, then a glancing Platt header was held by the keeper from a deep Sam Topliss cross.
Five minutes after the break Nyoni chased a strongly hit Topliss cross to set up a flying Platt header that was also dealt with by Durrant, then at last after several more stifled attacks sub Adam Smith delivered the perfect free-kick for Priestley to head home from a low trajectory.
The visitors started to initiate attacks of their own once they had conceded, the closest being Fry’s well struck rasper from ten yards outside the area, Reds’ keeper Chris Elliott at last brought into action to save.
Deep into stoppage time Topliss fired low and wide from a Smith lay-off, and in the end a scruffy one-nil win will be as satisfactory a result as any.
ALFRETON:Elliott; Topliss, Priestley, Shiels, Wood, Jennings (Smith 65), Disley, Platt, Nyoni, Westcarr [A.Johnson 76), Lavelle-Moore.
SUBS NOT USED: Whitehouse, Robertson, Allan.
NORTH FERRIBY: Durrant; Cook, Brogan, B.Johnson, Skelton, Picton, Russell, Fry, Francis (Ambalu 63), Pugh (Seidi 56), Emerton.
SUBS NOT USED; Bateson, Barrows, Dixon.
REFEREE: Dean Watson.