Lincoln City 1, Alfreton Town 2
Sincil Bank is rapidly becoming Alfreton Town’s favourite location as they clocked up their fourth successive win at that venue on Tuesday night, to help eradicate the memory of Saturday’s debacle in Kent.
Having won there twice last season in FA Cup and Blue Square Bet Premier games the record books also show a previous visit by the Reds in December, 1966, as successful against Lincoln City Reserves in the old Midland League.
Having made five changes from the heavy defeat at Dartford it took some time for Alfreton to settle into the game, and despite falling behind to a freak goal in the 26th minute they eventually ran out worthy winners.
Dan Bradley latched on to a Leigh Franks throw in the eighth minute to test home keeper Paul Farman from 20 yards, then Nathan Arnold fired wide after jinking across the edge of the area.
Lincoln’s first attack in the 12th minute saw Jamie Taylor progress with a long central run before teeing up Peter Bore to blaze high and wide from just inside the area.
Anton Brown was well off target from 30 yards as the game struggled to find any fluency, then came the opening goal after Theo Streete had been lectured at length for a clumsy tackle on Bore.
Nicky Nicolau took the free-kick fully 30 yards out to the right of goal and was clearly aiming for colleagues at the back post, but the ball evaded everybody in the crowded box and nestled in the back of the net with Nicolau the most surprised of them all.
Danny Meadows was just unable to reach Connor Franklin’s deep cross as Alfreton responded, then on 38 minutes Josh Law cut in from the right to set up Arnold for a stinging drive that Farman did well to hold.
In first half added time Streete’s timely tackle prevented Colin Larkin from firing at goal from 12 yards.
Nicolau shot over from 25 yards within seconds of the restart, then on 51 minutes Reds’ keeper Jon Stewart had to race out of goal to head clear as Taylor raced through, then immediately at the other end Meadows went close from a difficult angle.
A mistake by Streete almost cost Alfreton the game as he was dispossessed by Larkin before Taylor fired palpably wide with the goal at his mercy on 58 minutes.
And six minutes later the Reds punished the home side by drawing level with a well constructed goal finished off with aplomb by Anthony Wilson from 12 yards, after Meadows had sent Arnold through for a shot that was blocked.
A deep cross from Law almost crept in at the back post but the alert Farman managed to claw it away at the last moment, then with Alfreton suddenly full of enthusiasm Arnold struck the foot of the post from eight yards from another accurate Meadows delivery in the 68th minute.
Darran Kempson only just missed the target with a back-post header from a Law corner, then Brown fired wide as the keeper clattered into him in receipt of Arnold’s lay-off from a deep Law cross.
Stewart did well to parry a powerful Taylor effort on 76 minutes, but the follow-up from Larkin was weak and Law was able to clear off the line with a degree of comfort.
The winning goal came ten minutes from time when Kempson bravely headed in from six yards as the keeper attempted to punch Paul Clayton’s short pass clear, then two minutes later Farman somehow tipped over Brown’s close-range header.
Alfreton saw out the final stages, that included six minutes of stoppage time, by going five at the back to frustrate Lincoln and stifle their response.
Alfreton: Stewart; Law, Kempson, Streete, Franklin, Franks, Meadows, Bradley, Brown, Arnold, A.Wilson (Clayton 76). Other subs: Worsfold, Tomlinson, Russell, Taylor.
Att: 1,566 (inc. 96 visitors).