Alfreton Town recorded their seventh win from nine home games when FC Halifax Town were comfortably beaten at the lmpact Arena on Saturday.
Remarkably it was the first clean sheet kept by the Reds on home soil since Tamworth were beaten by the same score back in April, but Alfreton were able to climb to ninth place in the Skrill Premier as Jake Speight scored twice and Job Ayo Akinde added the third.
Speight’s brace brought his tally to four goals from as many games since arriving on loan from Mansfield Town, whilst Akinde remained top scorer with his seventh of the season.
The starting line-up remained unchanged from the previous week’s F.A.Cup success on Humberside, but Jay McFadzean was available after injury and a loan spell at Frickley Athletic and was named as a substitute.
The game was played throughout in gusty, unpredictable conditions which saw Alfreton adapting to them much better than their West Yorkshire opponents.
Speight struck first in the 14th minute when his shot looped up off defender Simon Ainge to deceive keeper Matty Glennon, after Akinde had forced the ball to him under pressure from Tom Shaw’s through-ball.
His second goal was rather more straightforward when he was left with a simple back post header after Akinde had helped Josh Law’s 31st minute corner through a crowded goalmouth, this after Danny Lowe had stretched to turn the ball behind as Speight was put through by Shaw.
Four minutes into the second half Akinde tidied up the scoring with a close range shot into the far corner of the net after Dan Bradley’s wayward effort had rebounded off Lowe, the move stemming from a Lathaniel Rowe-Turner throw after Glennon had superbly parried Speight’s back post header from a deep Bradley cross.
Leading marksman Lee Gregory fired over in the second minute as Halifax started the game on the front foot, but the first telling move two minutes later saw Akinde’s burst of pace down the left lead to a driven cross that nobody could reach.
Speight’s neat turn on the edge of the area in the ninth minute led to his shot being blocked at source by Marc Roberts, then three minutes later at the other end Chris Westwood had to tidy up after Reds’ keeper Ross Atkins had parried a stinging drive from Lois Maynard.
Shaw fired over from 18 yards just two minutes after Speight’s opener, then Ainge scrambled the ball behind as Speight ran on to another accurate pass from Shaw on 19 minutes.
Matty Pearson went close for the visitors from all of 30 yards, then a powerful Maynard header from a Dan Gardner corner had to be headed clear by Bradley Wood before Maynard struck again with Atkins reacting to save well.
A few seconds after the interval Atkins denied Gregory at full stretch with the ball seemingly destined for the top corner of the net, then ten minutes after going three goals behind Halifax squandered another opportunity when Gardner headed over at the back post from a useful Kevin Holsgrove cross.
Glennon came out of goal sharply to turn Shaw’s attempted lob behind in the 64th minute after Speight had reversed the roles to put the midfielder through, then Law headed over from close range after his initial shot had been parried by the keeper following a run from a crossfield pass by Wood.
With 19 minutes remaining Ryan Toulson did well to turn behind Bradley’s cross as Akinde homed in, then the Halifax defender nearly scored moments later when his free-kick from virtually on the half-way line caught in the wind and drifted towards the top corner of Atkins’s goal.
Speight still had his eyes on a hat-trick and after creating space 20 yards out sent a screamer inches over on 81 minutes, then the striker just failed to reach an Akinde cross in front of goal.
Finally in the last of three added minutes Halifax went the closest to scoring that they had all afternoon when Gregory’s angled drive rebounded off the foot of the back post to deny them a consolation goal.
ALFRETON: Atkins; Wood, Fenton, Westwood, Rowe-Turner, McGrath, Shaw, Bradley, Law, J.Akinde, Speight.
Subs: Franklin, Wylde, Meadows, S.Akinde, McFadzean.
Attendance: 900 (290).