Alfreton’s FA cup dream ends with Carlisle visit

Alfreton Town 0 - 4 Carlisle United

Alfreton Town’s dreams of progress in the FA Cup are over for another season after League One outfit Carlisle United cruised to a 4-0 victory at the Impact Arena on Saturday.

A positive start from the home side was eradicated by a four goal salvo in the last 21 minutes of the first half, despite the fact that the Cumbrians did not register their first shot on target until the 21st minute, and the Reds were clearly not helped by Josh Law’s early injury.

ITV cameras recorded the defeat, with the game being beamed live to the United States, but the Reds were unable to capitalise on their early chances with Anthony Wilson sending a diving header over from a sixth minute Law cross.

Either side of that effort, headers from Lee Miller and Rory Loy went close for Carlisle, but back at the other end Leigh Franks’ long throw forced Danny Livesey to hastily concede a corner.

Theo Streete then fired wide for Alfreton from 25 yards before a spell from the visitors culminated in James Berrett’s shot all along the ground from 40 yards being gathered by Reds’ keeper Joe Day.

Carlisle took a 24th minute lead after Loy had skipped past Law at the by-line and Franks had intervened with a superb tackle, but the recovering Law could only direct the ball as far as Matty Robson who forced Jordan Hall to concede a corner on the left.

Berrett played a one-two with Loy from the set piece before crossing deep for Lee Miller to take a return pass from Jon-Paul McGovern and stroke the ball in from the edge of the six-yard box through Day’s legs.

A tremendous challenge by Franks stopped Loy in his tracks and left a rather stunned look on the his opponent’s face, but Loy was soon smiling with a sublime overhead kick from eight yards from McGovern’s 33rd minute cross to put Carlisle two goals ahead.

Seven minutes later and United were 3-0 up after Day had stretched to parry when Liam Noble’s shot had flared up off Franks’ thigh, but Berrett tapped in the loose ball from three yards.

The rout was completed in the 45th minute when a right-wing corner taken by Berrett left Liam Noble exploiting a massive hole in the Reds’ defence with a simple header from seven yards, and only a good save by Day prevented Miller from adding a fifth in stoppage time.

With Carlisle nursing their advantage Alfreton were allowed to show their paces after the break and Nathan Arnold celebrated his return to the starting line-up after injury by winning a corner off Berrett after Jamie Mullan had cut in from the right.

Then on 57 minutes another Mullan cross was headed back across goal by Chris Senior for United skipper Paul Thirlwell to put behind, then 60 seconds later the clearest opportunity yet to reduce the deficit came courtesy of a penalty.

Miller impeded Anthony Wilson and Senior was entrusted with the spot-kick as he sought to register his first Alfreton goal, but he hammered the ball against the crossbar so hard that it had rebounded across the halfway line before Greg Young pumped it back upfield.

A 25 yard Matty Robson free-kick was tipped around the post in the 66th minute, then two minutes later in response Mullan fired from the edge of the area only to see colleague Paul Clayton inadvertently block his shot.

Young saw a header parried by United keeper Adam Collin from a Senior free-kick, then the latter unleashed a shot that was again dealt with by Collin.

Nathan Jarman had a clever lob cleared off the line by Livesey after Collin had parried from Clayton in the 86th minute, then Mullan fired over after good approach work by Hall and debutant Anthony Church.

In the third minute of added time Francois Zoko’s by-line cross was thumped against the upright by Craig Curran as the Carlisle substitutes attempted to manufacture a fifth goal with just about the last kick of the tie.

ALFRETON: Day, Law (Mullan 39), Franks, Young, Streete, Brown, Hall, Church, Arnold (Senior 56), Clayton, A.Wilson (Jarman 80).

Other subs: Mackin, Franklin, Lowson.

Attendance: 1488 (inc. 381 visitors).