Match gallery: Alfreton Town extend 2017 unbeaten run with victory over FC United of Manchester

Alfreton Town remain unbeaten in 2017 after defeating FC United of Manchester 2-1 at the Impact Arena to pull seven points clear of the National League North drop zone.

Sam Smith boosted the Reds with a sixth-minute opener and, after George Thomson levelled four minutes into the second half, Wes Atkinson popped up with the winner 13 minutes from time.

Tom Allan and Andy Monkhouse congratulate the scorer of Alfreton's second goal, Wes Atkinson.'Photo: Eric Gregory

Tom Allan and Andy Monkhouse congratulate the scorer of Alfreton's second goal, Wes Atkinson.'Photo: Eric Gregory

Alfreton manager Russ O’Neill made one change from the side beaten at Kidderminster Harriers seven days earlier with Tom Allan back after injury at the expense of Adam Smith.

The Reds took the lead when Craig Westcarr’s pass allowed Sam Smith to unleash an angled drive that was blocked. That did not deter the striker, who repeated the shot, this time squeezing the ball into the far corner of the net, despite desperate attempts by defenders to prevent it from crossing the line.

Reds’ keeper Fabian Spiess made a diving save to keep out Thomson’s seventh-minute free-kick and Andy Monkhouse headed clear as Scott Kay advanced and fired at the home goal.

United keeper Dave Carnell held Atkinson’s low drive after being put through by Westcarr, while at the other end Spiess held Thomson’s powerful shot at the second attempt and then almost immediately spectacularly parried a free-kick from the striker.

Thomson was featuring in every FC move, so it was perhaps inevitable that he was on hand to hook in Matthew Wolfenden’s 49th minute cross from close range to equaliser.

Alfreton might have restored their lead two minutes later as Allan headed firmly against the bar from a Westcarr corner.

The home side surged forward with Westcarr forcing a fingertip stop from Carnell, who then saved from Jordan Richards.

As the visitors also threatened, Spiess tipped over Jake Williams’ 69th minute driven cross.

Eight minutes later Alfreton grabbed the winner. Westcarr provided the delivery for Atkinson to stroke the ball past Carnell from just inside the area.

They almost extended their advantage in added time as Atkinson went close following a neat pull-back by Liam Hearn.

But it needed another defiant save from Spiess to make certain of the deserved victory as he dealt with an awkward cross.

ALFRETON: Spiess; Richards, McGowan, Kennedy, Wilson, Atkinson, Monkhouse, Shelton, Allan [Heaton 77], Westcarr [Hearn 88], S.Smith. Subs not used: Marshall, Jordan, Brough.

FC UNITED: Carnell; Williams, Sheridan [Gilchrist 77], Kay, Corbett, Ashworth, Wolfenden [Chantler 84], Lowe, Arnison [Greaves 77], Wright, Thomson. Subs not used: Wilkinson, Brown.

Referee: Garreth Rhodes

Attendance: 898 [incl 350 visitors]