Alfreton Town extend gap on play-off places after Wrexham win

Just a few short seasons ago the notion that Alfreton Town could beat the likes of Wrexham twice inside a week would have been laughable, yet the Reds completed their second double of the season on New Year’s Day in difficult conditions.

By Sports Reporter
Thursday, 2nd January 2014, 9:17 am

Wrexham had been successful on their two previous visits to the Impact Arena, but on this occasion Job Ayo Akinde’s goal in first half added time was enough to consolidate third place for Alfreton, some five points clear of fourth placed Grimsby Town albeit having played three games more.

This was also the first time since winning promotion to the Conference Premier that the Reds had won five successive games, their previous best having been four straight wins in the late revival that took them out of the first season’s relegation battle.

Connor Franklin was preferred to Tom Shaw as the only change from the starting line-up against Southport four days earlier, the match played throughout in a blustery wind with rain falling on an already heavy pitch, although full credit must go to groundsman Rob Brookes with so many games postponed throughout the country.

Chris Westwood had to tackle back as Adrian Cieslewicz raced into the area in the seventh minute, then keeper Jon Worsnop punched clear a Johnny Hunt volley as Alfreton soaked up early Wrexham pressure.

With 10 minutes elapsed Dan Bradley’s deep punt almost swirled over Wrexham keeper Andy Coughlin as it caught in the wind, then back at the other end Brett Ormerod fired straight at Worsnop from Robbie Evans’ chip through.

Ormerod was momentarily clear on goal when Westwood misdirected a clearance from Jay Harris in the 16th minute, but the defender quickly atoned, then in response Lathaniel Rowe-Turner was teed up by Akinde only for his shot to strike Paul Clayton and drift harmlessly wide.

Bradley chested down Akinde’s crossfield pass in the 20th minute before Clayton won a corner for the Reds, then ten minutes later from a Daniel Meadows flag-kick Darran Kempson looped a header just over at the back post.

A magnificent save by Worsnop denied Ormerod from 12 yards on 36 minutes, then Kempson went close again from a Meadows free-kick, then as the game swung to and fro Ormerod had a goal disallowed when he bundled Worsnop 1950’s style into the back of the net from a Joe Clarke corner.

With the first half just eight seconds into a minute of stoppage time Meadows sent Akinde to the edge of the area before cutting in to fire low across Coughlin into the corner of the net and Alfreton were ahead in a gruelling contest.

A long jinking run by Clayton four minutes after the break saw his shot blocked by Coughlin, then Kempson had to intercept as Andy Bishop shied at goal from a Mark Carrington cross.

Worsnop made two smothering saves at the feet of Evans after being played through both times by Ormerod, then on the hour Bradley’s angled drive was held by Coughlin after a sudden burst of speed down the right.

Joe Anyinsah fired straight at Worsnop from Carrington’s 72nd minute cross, then a ferociously struck Harris free-kick was calmly gathered by Worsnop before a quick break led to Akinde’s stubbed shot from a Rowe-Turner cross.

Wrexham can certainly count themselves unfortunate as Evans’ snap shot rebounded off the crossbar with Worsnop finally beaten in the 77th minute, but with every single Alfreton player physically drained the Reds closed out the game to record only their third clean sheet from 31 League and Cup games this season.

ALFRETON: Worsnop; Westwood, Wylde, Kempson, Rowe-Turner, Franklin, Wood, Bradley (Shaw 79 mins), Meadows, Clayton (Wishart 66 mins). Akinde. Subs not used: Atkins, Fenton, McFadzean.

Attendance: 765 (171 away).