Billy Heath gives balanced appraisal of Alfreton Town’s FA Cup exit to Fleetwood Town

Nathan Hotte congratulates Jordan Sinnott after Sinnott scored Alfreton's goal from a free kick.
Nathan Hotte congratulates Jordan Sinnott after Sinnott scored Alfreton's goal from a free kick.

Alfreton Town manager Billy Heath said there were positives to take from the Reds’ FA Cup display against Fleetwood Town - as well as lessons to be learned.

Heath’s side exited the competition at the first round proper stage on Sunday after they were beaten 4-1 by Joey Barton’s League One outfit at the Impact Arena.

The Reds boss was disappointed with the goals conceded but could also take heart from spells of the game, most noticeably a 20-minute period in the second half.

Heath said: “The most disappointing thing was the goals we’ve conceded.

“For the first 20 minutes we looked okay and kept our shape ever so well. Yes, they had the possession, but they weren’t really asking any questions.

“But, from a throw-in we switch off, they cross it from the bye-line and it’s in the back of the net - all the goals were slightly disappointing.

“I’m not convinced about the penalty, not wanting to be over critical but it looked a soft one, the second one is offside.

“But the most pleasing thing today was our reaction in the second half when for a 20-minute period we had four or five really good chances, which was nice for everybody - the supporters, who were great again - and we got on the scoresheet with Jordan Sinnott’s free-kick which was really pleasing.

“The players all had good games, but we’re switching off at crucial times and that’s something we’ve got to rectify.”

And added: “We asked a lot of questions of a League One full-time side in that purple patch.

“They really looked unsettled, Richard Peniket was causing the two centre-halves problems and for those 20 minutes we had them, but the game’s not about 20 minutes. The best team won and quite rightly they should.”

Alfreton return to National League North action on Saturday when they host Nuneaton Borough at the Impact Arena (3pm) - to kick-off an important run of games in their season.

“There were positives,” said Heath. “We have three massive games coming up [Nuneaton Town and Leamington at home, followed by Hereford away], which will shape the full season.

“We’ve had a good cup run, so first box ticked, when we came here we said we’d try to have a run in the FA Cup and we’ve done that and earned some prize money for the club.”