Blue Square Bet North
Alfreton Town 6
Guiseley AFC 0
Alfreton Town produced an incredible performance against sixth placed Guiseley on Tuesday night at the Impact Arena to further strengthen their title bid, the highlight of which was undoubtedly a four minute hat-trick by Liam Hearn which was a candidate for the quickest in the club’s history.
His treble evoked memories of Keith Edwards putting three past Worksop Town in a five minute spell back in 1992, and for older supporters the three goals were taken with the style of the legendary John Harrison.
Added to that Alfreton kept their fifth clean sheet from their fifth game in 11 days, but the most remarkable statistic of the night was surely that the Reds had to play 81 minutes with only ten men after Anthony Howell’s ninth minute dismissal for a tackle on Darryn Stamp.
On a night of records as Alfreton again equalled their best ever League win at Blue Square Bet North level with a third 6-0 win of the season, Nathan Arnold had given the hosts the lead just 11 seconds from the kick-off, equalling Danny Davidson’s rapid start in an FACup replay at Ilkeston Town two seasons ago.
Arnold reacted smartly after Guiseley keeper James Coates had failed to properly clear as Paul Clayton challenged, lobbing the loose ball over bemused defenders from 14 yards, then ten minutes after Howell’s sending off and clearly not having read the script Alfreton found themselves 2-0 up.
Aden Flint sent Clayton away with the striker being impeded by Simon Ainge, Josh Law calmly stroking the resultant penalty low to Coates’ right, then the first taste of Hearn’s panache came on 27 minutes when he raced clear to fire inches wide of the back post after the neatest of headers to control the ball en route from Arnold’s pass.
Two minutes later the Reds’ bench was incensed as the referee waved aside what appeared to be two blatant penalty shouts, as Clayton was initially fouled by Warren Peyton and almost propelled into the path of Dave Merris before being flattened again.
Guiseley put together their first positive move in the 31st minute with Joe O’Neill firing wide from ten yards after being set up by Gavin Rothery, then back at the other end Coates just edged the race to block as Hearn once again had the target within his sights.
The first of Hearn’s goals came in the 44th minute after Laurie Wilson had played the ball through to Clayton with Ainge miskicking straight to Hearn, who advanced and slotted home from 10 yards to the keeper’s right, the hapless Guiseley skipper having gifted Arnold the winning goal in similar style 14 days earlier in West Yorkshire.
Without drawing breath Hearn was on the rampage again a minute later from Flint’s clearance, this time steering past Coates from the opposite side of the goal from eight yards, and the incredible sequence was completed 68 seconds after the break when he ran on to Clayton’s flick through to fire past Coates from a central position.
Guiseley’s best chance came in the 53rd minute when Chris Mackenzie needed to save a sharp effort from Peyton from 25 yards, but 14 minutes later Alfreton completed their demolition when sub Nathan Jarman scored his first Reds’ goal with a neat header from ten yards after Laurie Wilson had chased the ball to the by-line.
It cannot be allowed to pass without mentioning that Guiseley were magnanimous in defeat by applauding Alfreton off the pitch at the end, with their manager Steve Kittrick having earlier made the unprecedented gesture of shaking Hearn’s hand as he was being replaced by Jarman.
Alfreton Town: Chris Mackenzie, Josh Law, Connor Franklin, Aden Flint ©, Theo Streete, Laurie Wilson (Anton Brown 77), Anthony Howell, Matt Wilson, Paul Clayton, Liam Hearn (Nathan Jarman 65), Nathan Arnold (Ian Ross 82).
Substitutes not used: Nathan Jarman, Anton Brown, Ant Wilson, Daryl Clare, Ian Ross.
Guiseley AFC: James Coates, Ryan Toulson, Dave Merris, Simon Baldry (James Walshaw 65), Danny Ellis, Simon Ainge © (Jake McEneaney 49), Danny Forrest (Danny Boshell 57), Gavin Rothery, Darryn Stamp, Joe O’Neill, Warren Peyton.
Substitutes not used: Luke Sharry, Karl Martens.
Referee: Mick Bell of Rotherham
Goals: Alfreton Town – Nathan Arnold (1), Josh Law (penalty 19), Liam Hearn (44, 45 and 47), Nathan Jarman (67).
Bookings: Guiseley AFC - Simon Ainge (19 foul on Paul Clayton); Simon Baldry (33 foul on Nathan Arnold).
Sent off: Anthony Howell (9, dangerous play)
Reds man of the match: Liam Hearn but it could have been any one of ten.
Next in action
Saturday, April 9 - Solihull Moors v Alfreton Town (3pm).
Tuesday, April 12 - Eastwood Town v Alfreton Town (7.45pm).