Blue Square Bet North
Alfreton Town 4
ALFRETON Town destroyed Droylsden just 14 days after suffering a 2-1 defeat to the same side in Greater Manchester, and you could scarcely believe it was the Reds’ fourth game in eight days as they won with plenty tgo spare.
It was also Alfreton’s fourth clean sheet in succession, which is their best sequence for two years, the limelight being grabbed by returning top scorer Liam Hearn with two of the goals, hit within 90 seconds of each other, after five games out through injury.
Droylsden were certainly not helped by the dismissal of key defender Paul Jones in the 19th minute, the referee and his assistant having spotted a serious infringement when Paul Clayton fell to the ground just as he had headed Alfreton in front from close range.
Clayton had helped on Anthony Howell’s goalbound header after keeper Paul Phillips had pushed a Hearn shot on to the bar, the move stemming from a neat interchange between Hearn and Josh Law on the right.
Alfreton had already racked up three chances by then with Laurie Wilson twice going close from outside the area, either side of Nathan Arnold’s tenth minute angled drive that was held at his near post by the Droylsden keeper.
The Bloods’ best chance came in the 21st minute when Lee McEvilly sent Dan Gardner through only for the alert Chris Mackenzie to save, then at the other end Phillips needed a second attempt to catch a Clayton shot under pressure from Howell and Matt Wilson.
A minute before half-time Arnold cut in and blasted the ball against the angle of bar and upright from 12 yards, then in added time a long central run by Hearn was helped on by Law with Phillips parrying the eventual shot.
A rare mistake by Aden Flint four minutes after the break left Mackenzie exposed as McEvilly and Ciaran Kilheeney converged, but the keeper won the race for the loose ball, then just five minutes later the Reds were basking in the luxury of a 3-0 lead after two quick-fire strikes from Hearn inside a 90-second spell.
The first of his brace in the 53rd minute came directly from Mackenzie’s punt upfield that he ran on to and circumnavigated the keeper before slotting in, and his next goal was a spectacular and unstoppable shot from the edge of the ‘D’ after the ball sat up nicely for him following a defensive error.
Laurie Wilson headed over from eight yards just past the hour from Nathan Jarman’s tee-up, then a slip by Aaron Chalmers let in Hearn but his curling shot struck Domaine Rouse.
With 66 minutes on the clock Hearn somehow missed the easiest chance of all when he misguided his clear back post header wide from six yards from a deep Law cross, then Jarman’s angled drive from the left was parried by Phillips.
Arnold then sent two headers over the crossbar from passes by Jarman and Laurie Wilson, then with four minutes remaining Daryl Clare’s shot was deflected against the post.
With the game entering stoppage time a Laurie Wilson corner was flicked on by Anton Brown for Matt Wilson to prod the ball over the line from close range for his sixth goal of the season, in the process doubling his total for the three previous campaigns.
Alfreton Town: Chris Mackenzie, Josh Law, Connor Franklin, Aden Flint, Theo Streete, Laurie Wilson, Anthony Howell (Anton Brown 78), Matt Wilson, Paul Clayton (Nathan Jarman 59), Liam Hearn (Daryl Clare 58), Nathan Arnold. Subs not used: Ian Ross, Jake Moult.
Droylsden: Paul Phillips, James Vaughan (Carlos Logan 78), Liam Brownhill, Paul Jones, Nat Kerr, Mark Boyd (Aaron Chalmers 54), Michael Connor, Lewis Killeen, Ciaran Kilheeney, Lee McEvilly (Domaine Rouse 63), Dan Gardner. Subs not used: Colin Cryan, Sean Lake.
Refreree: A Tankard of Sheffield
Goals: Alfreton Town – Paul Clayton (19), Liam Hearn (53 and 54), Matt Wilson (90+1)
Bookings: Alfreton Town – Liam Hearn (26 unsporting conduct). Droylsden – Nat Kerr (26 unsporting conduct); Lewis Killeen (50, foul on Laurie Wilson); Michael Connor (57, foul on Anthony Howell). .
Sent off: Droylsden – Paul Jones (19, violent conduct).
Reds man of the match: Liam Hearn