Reds match report: Alfreton Town 0 Nuneaton Town 1 (FA Trophy Round One)

Paul Clayton puts his header over the bar.
Paul Clayton puts his header over the bar.
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Alfreton Town were knocked out of the FA Trophy by Nuneaton Town at the Impact Arena on Saturday, just four days after the Warwickshire outfit had beaten the Reds in the league.

Manager Nicky Law made five changes, with two of them necessitated through injuries to skipper Nick Fenton and top scorer Job Ayo Akinde.

They were replaced by Michael Wylde and new loan striker Jonathan Hooper, respectively.

Other changes saw Paul Clayton start instead of Danny Wishart, whilst Alastair Taylor replaced Tom Shaw in midfield and Connor Franklin was given valuable match time at left back with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner unable to play against his parent club Luton Town next week.

There was to be a further injury problem for Law to contend with when son, Josh, limped out of the game in the 63rd minute, then Wishart pulled up in pain immediately after taking the field to replace Hooper but managed to run off the effects.

Theo Streete was given a warm welcome back to the ground where he had helped Alfreton win the Conference North title, having been unable to line up against the Reds in midweek through injury.

The goal itself was somewhat contentious, with Wylde being penalised for a tackle on David Hibbert that was interpreted as a foul six or seven yards outside the area, former Reds’ loanee Louis Moult smashing home the free-kick in the 53rd minute.

A tentative approach to the tie left reporters with a blank sheet until the 18th minute when Moult’s shot from Danny Sleath’s cross was held by Reds’ keeper Ross Atkins, then three minutes later Clayton’s header just looped over the bar from Taylor’s cross.

Law’s free-kick was held by Nuneaton keeper Kelle Roos on 30 minutes, then Moult screwed his shot wide from a good position after being played through by Hibbert.

The neatest move of the first half saw Law spray the ball out to Clayton before the latter’s 33rd minute shot was held low by Roos, then a mundane opening period petered out with a tame Moult chip comfortably held by Atkins and mercifully no added time indicated by the fourth official.

The second half could only be brighter, although it was hardly outstanding, but an angled drive by Taylor just 50 seconds after the restart needed fielding by Roos.

Six minutes after the decisive goal Taylor’s cross was helped on by Hooper for Clayton to go close with a header, then Atkins misread a Moult corner at his near post and had to rely on Chris Westwood’s diligence before Phil Trainer’s follow-up was blocked in a crowded goalmouth.

Adam Walker fired wide from the edge of the area for the visitors on 62 minutes, then Roos just beat Clayton to another Taylor cross following a swift clearance by Daniel Meadows.

A low Hibbert drive from all of 30 yards was not far off target with 20 minutes left on the clock, then Wylde tried a similar effort for the Reds seven minutes later with the same outcome.

Tom Shaw was next to try from outside the area with Roos equal to his 88th minute effort, then Sleath’s chip was held by Atkins after being sent through by Moult.

Midway through four minutes of added time Shaw’s close range stab was held by Roos after Clayton’s accurate overhead kick from a Bradley Wood cross had been blocked by Gareth Dean.

ALFRETON: Atkins; Wood, Westwood, Wylde, Franklin, McGrath (Shaw 74), Taylor, Bradley, Law (Meadows 63), Hooper (Wishart 63), Clayton.

Subs not used: Kempson, Rowe-Turner.

Attendance: 343.