Alfreton Town 2, Bath City 1
A memorable first season in the Blue Square Bet Premier drew to a successful close for Alfreton Town at the Impact Arena on Saturday.
The 2-1 win over relegated Bath City was the Reds’ only double of the season, but there was still every reason for the players to return to the pitch ten minutes after the final whistle to accept the fans’ appreciation in finishing in a creditable 15th position.
Several awards were presented after the game, with the Supporters’ Player of the Season being claimed by Anton Brown, with Nathan Arnold the runner-up and Theo Streete acknowledging third place in the vote.
The game itself was quite a lively affair despite neither side having anything left to prove, with the Reds sweeping into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes before seeing their advantage halved five minutes later.
Alfreton started on a positive note with Seamus Conneely’s through-ball causing Mark Preece to slip and allow Nathan Jarman a clear shot at goal, but the ball drifted beyond the back post.
Danny Meadows capped a fine performance by opening the scoring in the 17th minute, the Nottingham Forest loanee firing home from ten yards after Jarman had been sent down the left by Connor Franklin.
Three minutes later Anthony Wilson merely had to guide the ball over the line from close range after Arnold had chased down and dispossessed the unfortunate Preece before crossing from the right-hand by-line.
Scott Murray headed over for the visitors from a right-wing corner in the 22nd minute, then three minutes later Murray’s cross struck Franklin’s hand and a penalty was the harsh outcome.
Murray, who was playing his last game before retiring, struck the spot-kick firmly and despite Dan Lowson having a firmer grip of the ball than had Franklin the Reds’ keeper could not prevent it from entering the net.
Meadows was proving to be a handful to cope with and when his shot from Law’s 55th minute corner looped up off Preece an off-side Arnold hooked over from close range.
A swift break by the Romans ended with Jamie Cook’s shot from 18 yards being held by Lowson, then on 59 minutes Lowson had to turn behind a low drive from Simpson.
Cunnington then had successive shots blocked at close range by the Bath keeper after being put through by Conneely, then with six minutes of the season remaining Alex Russell was denied an equaliser from 16 yards by another good Lowson save.
Alfreton: Lowson; Law (Moult 83), Franks, Quinn, Franklin, Conneely, Brown, Meadows, Arnold (Mullan 55), Jarman, A.Wilson (Cunnington 55). Subs not used: Clayton, Streete.
Attendance: 786 (inc. 42 from Bath).