Anton Brown’s goal after just 85 seconds at Southport on Easter Monday settled any nerves that may have crept into Alfreton Town’s survival plans, after defeats to Braintree Town and Lincoln City in the preceding four days.
Daniel Meadows added a second goal in the 37th minute as the Reds recorded one of their more comfortable wins of the season to climb back to 15th position in the Blue Square Bet Premier with only five games left to play, while the hosts suffered a seventh defeat from their last eight games.
Manager Nicky Law was again without son Josh who had picked up an injury in Essex on Thursday, and with Connor Franklin suspended the full-back berths were filled by Jordan Rose on the right and Theo Streete on the left, both of whom adapted well to their temporary positions.
Anton Brown initiated the move that led to the opening goal, with Nathan Arnold and Louie Soares combining on the left before returning the ball.
However all seemed in vain as Brown was bundled over on the edge of the area, but the long-serving midfielder quickly picked himself up to send a deflected shot looping off Southport skipper Simon Grand and over keeper Jonathan Hedge.
Meadows’ task was somewhat easier after James Smith had made a complete hash of guiding his header back to Hedge after Reds’ keeper Jordan Pickford had punted upfield with the assistance of the strong wind, the midfielder simply intercepting with a header over Hedge from ten yards.
One of several astute passes from Soares sent Arnold through in the ninth minute, but one touch too many allowed Hedge to gather, then seven minutes later Dan Bradley’s cross from the right left Soares with a clear chance in front of goal but no contact could be made.
Southport’s first sortie stemmed from Hedge’s clearance with Chris Almond allowed a lengthy run, but Brown’s tackle was spot on as shooting distance was attained.
Hedge needed two attempts to hold Scott Boden’s 35th minute shot from just inside the area, then at the other end Andy Parry stabbed wide from similar distance after Almond’s cross had rebounded off Darran Kempson.
Right on half-time Boden almost succeeded in converting a Soares corner at the near post, then a lethal cross from Meadows needed a vital touch from Hedge as Boden prepared to pounce.
A strange start to the second half saw Southport claim five rapid corners before Alfreton responded with as many of their own, with Adam Quinn having to clear Shaun Whalley’s angled drive off the line from the Sandgrounder’s third flag-kick whilst Alfreton’s spell of pressure petered out with a wayward shot from Arnold.
Almond flashed a header wide from Whalley’s 69th minute cross, then Pickford needed to hold an effort from Neill Byrne eight minutes later.
Almond’s angled drive was held comfortably by Pickford with four minutes to go, then the home fans turned on their team with derisory booing as Sean Clancy thumped a free-kick high into the stand.
ALFRETON: Pickford; Rose, Quinn, Kempson, Streete, Soares, Bradley, Brown, Meadows, Arnold, Boden. Other subs: Taylor, Clayton, Franks, Hewitt, Tomlinson.
ATTENDANCE: 830 (85).