MATCH GALLERY: Alfreton Town beaten in eight goal thriller by AFC Fylde
Alfreton Town found themselves on the wrong end of an eight-goal thriller when AFC Fylde visited the lmpact Arena on Saturday.
The Reds fought back twice during the first half before establishing a 3-2 interval lead, but were sunk by three goals after the break without being able to muster a reply.
Danny Rowe did most of the damage with a haul of four goals, but Alfreton can count themselves extremely unfortunate not to have gone into half-time with a bigger lead after Craig Westcarr’s goal had been disallowed in added time, his back post conversion coming after Dan Bradley had dispossessed Steve Williams.
There was also a degree of controversy over Fylde’s second goal, which came amid defensive confusion after Todd Jordan had not been allowed back on the field after changing his shorts.
Alfreton had started the game with a flourish, forcing three early corners before Wright opened the scoring for Fylde by blasting an eighth minute free-kick high into the net from the edge of the area.
Six minutes later though the Reds had drawn level in style, Ryan Wilson hammering the ball past Rhys Taylor after being left one-on-one with the keeper from Jordan’s outstanding through-ball.
Parity was only observed until the 16th minute though, Wright working his way through a distracted defence to tap the ball in, the referee having to speak to Reds’ manager Nicky Law after vehement appeals about the circumstances allowing play to continue without Jordan had been waved aside.
Alfreton were level at 2-2 by the 21st minute of a frenetic encounter when Westcarr curled a free-kick from 25 yards past Taylor, then a few minutes later Wilson went close at one end and Bohan Dixon did likewise at the other.
The Reds finally took the lead on 36 minutes after Taylor had superbly tipped over another good effort from Wilson, the corner leading to Sam Smith being brought down and Bradley swept the ensuing penalty firmly past the keeper.
Deep into first half added time Smith missed a Bradley cross right in front of goal, then eight minutes after the break Wright struck again with a lethal free-kick that took a deflection to deceive Fabian Spiess.
A goalmouth scramble ensued from Westcarr’s 58th minute free-kick, with Taylor left injured as Tom Allan stabbed the loose ball wide of the near post.
Reserve keeper Tony Thompson had only been named on the team-sheet moments before the kick-off after original sub George Newell had been declared unfit during the warm-up, so Fylde were extremely fortunate to have a recognised replacement for Taylor available.
Spiess pulled off two commendable saves from Andy Bond and Wright as the Coasters pushed further and further forward, the latter scoring his fourth goal from close range following a corner in the 68th minute.
The fifth goal came seven minutes from time amidst torrential rain and ironically stemmed from a long Niall Heaton throw that was cleared swiftly upfield, Wright feeding James Hardy who followed up after Spiess had parried in vain.
Late chances from Adam Priestley and Brad McGowan failed to test Thompson, the Reds left to rue a game that had slipped from their grasp.
ALFRETON: Spiess; Heaton, McGowan, Terry Kennedy, Allan, Jordan, Nyoni, Bradley, Wilson (Garnett 74), Smith (Hearn 74), Westcarr (Priestley 90+1).
Subs not used: Doyle.
AFC FYLDE: Taylor (Thompson 60); Holmes, Tom Kennedy, Langley, Williams, Bond, Hardy, C.Hughes, Rowe, Dixon, Daniels (M.Hughes 34).
Subs not used: Blinkhorn, Collins, Baker.
REFEREE: Garreth Rhodes.