Dartford 5, Alfreton Town 1
Alfreton Town’s long trip to Kent left everyone disappointed, with a facile performance littered with defensive errors.
Even with Adam Quinn partnering Darren Kempson at the heart of the Red’s defence, and the return of popular keeper Jon Stewart on loan from Burnley, Alfreton were unable to stem the tide as Dartford swept them aside with a five-goal salvo.
Harry Crawford led the way for the Darts with a hat-trick that began in the 11th minute after Kempson’s slip allowed him free access down the left to beat Stewart at his near post.
His second goal came three minutes after the interval when he was left with enough time and space to loop a header over Stewart from a Ryan Hayes cross.
Crawford completed his treble eight minutes from time despite a point-blank save by Stewart from his initial shot after Kempson failed to clear.
Other goals for Dartford were scored by Elliot Bradbrook in first half added time with a simple header from a Hayes corner, while eight minutes earlier Hayes’ long ball out of defence had sent Jacob Erskine on a clear run before shrugging off Quinn’s challenge to slot past Stewart.
Danny Meadows scored Alfreton’s consolation goal in the 80th minute with the Reds already trailing 4-0.
Meadows initiated the move by sending sub Nathan Arnold down the right before scoring from 16 yards off the foot of the post.
Alfreton had their moments - Ben Tomlinson’s header looked certain to go in from Simon Russell’s free-kick but Richard Rose managed to hack the ball off the line.
Two minutes before the interval Lee Burns headed off the line as Dan Bradley almost succeeded in reaching a return pass from Josh Law.
Then in the 72nd minute Quinn’s header out of defence sent Arnold clear to guide the ball around Dartford keeper Marcus Bettinelli, only for Mark Arber to clear off the line.
Other chances that came the Reds way were Russell’s effort from 18 yards from a long Leigh Franks throw that went close after just 100 seconds had elapsed.
Then a long central run by Bradley in the 21st minute culminated in a low drive from 25 yards that was only just off target.
Despite having so many chances Alfreton really were outplayed on the day and could not complain about the eventual outcome.
Alfreton: Stewart; Law, Quinn, Kempson, Brown, Franks, Taylor (Meadows 47), Bradley, Russell, Clayton (Worsfold 61), Tomlinson (Arnold 61).
On Tuesday, Alfreton are away at Lincoln City, k.o. 7.45pm.