Alfreton Town 5,
Stalybridge Celtic 3
This was the fourth meeting of the two teams this season with honours even before kick-off, but Alfreton Town completed a League double in the most entertaining of the quartet by reversing last season’s 3-5 defeat by Stalybridge Celtic in the corresponding fixture.
In the process the Reds returned to the top of the Blue Square Bet North with Guiseley held 2-2 at Corby Town, but they twice had to come back from behind in the first half at the Impact Arena on Saturday.
Stalybridge took a 16th minute lead when Stephen Brogan teed up Callum Warburton to volley in from just outside the area, but Alfreton were back on level terms six minutes later when Wilson hammered a cross to the back post for Clayton to guide a sublime header past keeper Ashley Woodhouse from six yards.
The pendulum swung back in Celtic’s favour when Brogan embarked on a strong run before sliding the ball past Turner, but it only took a further three minutes for the Reds to draw level again.
Wilson sent Hearn on another run and in typical fashion he shrugged off a challenge before firing across Woodhouse and into the far corner of the net to record his 14th goal of the season.
With 41 minutes on the clock, and just as the sun came out, Alfreton took a 3-2 lead when Connor Franklin thumped home Hearn’s cross from the edge of the area, then just 50 seconds after the interval Anthony Howell headed home from six yards from an Ian Ross corner to stretch the advantage.
Unfortunately Hearn had to be withdrawn at half-time and this may have contributed to a quieter spell, but Stalybridge fashioned an opening in the 64th minute only for Craig Hobson to blaze over after good work by Warburton along the by-line.
Three minutes later Flint again saved the day with a brilliant interception to divert the ball behind for a corner as Hobson fired at goal, but the deficit was reduced in the 83rd minute when sub Craig Davies converted Warburton’s cross from close range.
After a period of positive defending Alfreton pushed forward in the last minute and following a weak back pass Nathan Arnold pounced to cut in from the left and secure the points with a well-taken goal.
Alfreton: Turner; Law, Franklin; Flint, Stride, L.Wilson, J.Hall, Ross, Clayton (Dillon 86), Hearn (Arnold h/t), Howell. Other subs: Moult, C.Hall, A.Wilson.