Fleetwood Town 4, Alfreton Town 0
Alfreton Town may have been conclusively beaten by leaders Fleetwood Town on Saturday, but other results helped bolster the Reds’ hopes of retaining their Blue Square Bet Premier status.
The hosts conceded several petty free-kicks in the opening few minutes that stifled Alfreton’s hopes of an early breakthrough, but the first direct approach of the game was undertaken by Fleetwood’s Gareth Seddon in the eighth minute which needed Greg Young’s intervention in conceding a corner.
In the 14th minute Andy Mangan looked certain to convert Peter Cavanagh’s cross until Reds’ keeper Dan Lowson pulled off a magnificent point-blank save, but Fleetwood took the lead anyway three minutes later.
It was a quickly taken Jamie Vardy free-kick that was bundled in at the back post by Nathan Pond as Darran Kempson attempted to block.
Jamie Maguire embarked on a central run before firing wide from 18 yards, then at the midway point of the first half Leigh Franks set up Nathan Jarman who almost succeeded in playing Clayton through on goal.
Jarman’s 26th minute free-kick had to be held at the second attempt by Fleetwood keeper Scott Davies, then an unsavoury incident instigated by Vardy could easily have seen Theo Streete sent off.
Streete was shepherding the ball out when Vardy scythed into him and propelled the Reds’ defender into touch, but the strong reaction from Streete had the Fleetwood fans baying for his dismissal.
Matt Wilson’s rising drive almost cleared the stand in the 33rd minute, then Mangan’s deflected shot won the home side a corner after a long run.
Fleetwood led 2-0 on 37 minutes after Kempson’s header was intercepted by Seddon before firing past Lowson from an angle, then Mangan went close as the interval beckoned.
Six minutes after the break Franks’ free-kick was not caught cleanly by Davies, but Jarman was penalised before Clayton could take advantage.
Streete then blocked Seddon’s effort from a Vardy cross before Alfreton fell further behind in the 56th minute, when Seddon side-footed home from six yards after Mangan’s blistering run down the left.
The Reds had a spell of pressure around the hour mark which saw Jarman’s chip from 18 yards just missing the angle of the goal, then Clayton’s curling drive from wide left swung inches wide of the back post.
A long throw by Franks allowed Adam Quinn to head on, but Clayton just could not manage to turn the ball towards goal, then Fleetwood picked up the pace again with Lee Fowler going close with a thunderbolt from 25 yards.
Magno Vieira’s rasper was turned behind by Lowson in the 77th minute, then in response Jamie Mullan’s by-line cross was held by Davies.
A similar move at the other end produced a disastrous outcome though when Vardy’s deep cross was palmed into his own net by Lowson for Fleetwood’s fourth goal in the 84th minute.
Alfreton: Lowson; Streete (Law 59), Quinn, Kempson, Young, Franks, Moult, M.Wilson, Clay (Mullan 61), Clayton (A.Wilson 66), Jarman. Unused subs: Arnold, Franklin.