Nicky Law was given an emotional farewell by Alfreton Town fans at Gainsborough on Saturday, every one of them lining up to shake hands and hug their manager, who was leaving the club after a highly successful 10-year tenure.
A superb and somewhat vital 2-0 win for the Reds took second stage as grown men and women fought back tears in the most sensational scenes since Alfreton won promotion to the Conference National in 2011.
Craig Westcarr set up Law’s swansong victory with a goal in each half of a game that the Reds dominated throughout, completing their first double of the season — a third win over Trinity including an FA Trophy success.
His first after eight minutes followed a neat back-heel by Tom Allan from Mark Shelton’s cross, Westcarr slotting the ball low past keeper George Willis from eight yards.
The second goal came 14 minutes into the second half following a bizarre sequence of play, which had stemmed from a Niall Heaton throw.
An unfortunate deflection set up Damelle Bailey-King for a withering central run, which needed clearing by the Alfreton defence. Terry Kennedy’s hack upfield then fell to Westcarr, who side-stepped a defender before again leaving Willis flailing from eight yards.
MATCH REACTION: Ncky Law interview
If there was any criticism cast fn Alfreton’s performance it was their lack of clinical finishing, particularly from Westcarr who could have bagged a nap hand. He saw a shot diverted behind from Paul Marshall’s 22nd minute cross, glanced a header wide from the same source and went close from a free-kick that lacked power.
Allan also went close with an angled drive in the 19th minute that Willis superbly tipped over. Ioan Evans blocked Shelton’s shot in front of goal before Gainsborough eventually responded with Jordan Thewlis dragging a decent chance across the face of goal.
Bailey-King fired wide after advancing rapidly as the second half began, but the Reds were soon assuming control once more with a period of pressure that concluded with the second goal.
However, they were fortunate to escape unscathed six minutes after consolidating their lead, a Thewlis drive parried by Fabian Spiess before falling fractionally behind the supporting Matthew Thornhill.
Westcarr could not produce enough power to beat Willis from his favoured distance of eight yards, following a neat 74th minute move that had involved Shelton, Adam Priestley and Andy Monkhouse.
Priestley fired over nine minutes from time after engineering a clear scoring chance.
GAINSBOROUGH: Willis; Roma [Rothery 67], Lacey, L.Wilson, Evans, Picton, Bailey-King [Reid 73],
Thornhill, Worsfold, Thewlis, Davie [Chilaka 57]. Subs not used: Smith, Quinn.
ALFRETON: Spiess; R. Wilson, McGowan, Kennedy, Heaton, Nyoni [Priestley 64], Monkhouse,
Marshall, Allan, Shelton, Westcarr [Clayton 79]. Subs not used: Hearn, Gascoigne, Jordan.
Referee: Joe Hull.