York City 0, Alfreton Town 1
The city of York probably lays claim to more historical artefacts than anywhere else in Britain, so it was perhaps fitting that Alfreton Town should choose that particular location to record their historic first win in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
York City manager Gary Mills, who had almost two seasons in charge at Alfreton before Nicky Law took over the reins in 2007, admitted afterwards that his side were “second best” in the Bank Holiday Monday fixture.
It must have been a particularly bitter pill for Mills to swallow because, having taken over at Tamworth after leaving the Impact Arena, his new team was twice beaten by the underdog Reds on both visits to the Lamb.
This memorable win was achieved through hard work and commitment and by no means was a case of hoofing the ball anywhere for safety, with Alfreton employing five at the back while enjoying some good periods of attacking football into the bargain.
A long throw by Leigh Franks in the second minute was cleared by York and as Ashley Chambers aimed for Jason Walker Reds’ keeper Dan Lowson had to scamper out of goal to head to safety.
Matt Wilson had a shot from eight yards held by York keeper Michael Ingham with nine minutes elapsed, following Paul Clayton’s header from a Jamie Mullan corner, then in response a 35 yarder from Daniel Parslow fizzed over the bar.
A similar shot by Chris Senior followed in the 16th minute, then Trinidad & Tobago international Andre Boucaud curled a good chance wide from the edge of the area.
Former York defender Greg Young slipped at a vital moment as Boucaud’s 29th minute through-ball picked out another international in Patrick McLaughlin, who represents Northern Ireland, but Lowson was again aware and was able to block with his legs.
Anton Brown’s angled drive was held after Mullan’s run had led to Clayton playing Franks through, the 30th minute move having stemmed from Theo Streete, then successive corners taken by Chambers caused the Alfreton defence problems with Walker initially having a shot blocked before Streete cleared off the line.
A low drive by James Meredith in the 38th minute was held by Lowson, then as Alfreton responded again Mullan played Clayton to the edge of the area before seeing his deflected shot held by Ingham.
The breakthrough came three minutes before half-time when Boucaud clearly tripped Clayton as he ran into the area and another former Minsterman Levi Mackin stroked the ensuing penalty - Alfreton’s third successful spot-kick in seven days - out of Ingham’s reach low to the keeper’s left.
Seconds after the break Young just managed to intercept as sub James Reed ghosted through, then an attempted overhead kick by Clayton lacked power as Young headed on a Mullan free-kick.
Lowson held a Reed header on 59 minutes from a Parslow cross then Senior won a corner for the Reds after Clayton had found Streete on the left from a swift break.
It was Parslow’s turn to slip as he almost let Senior in but was rescued by Ingham’s block, then Reed sent Jon Challinor to the by-line before Young conceded the corner.
Franks had to head behind to divert a dangerous cross from Chambers in the 64th minute, then on a lighter note the referee accidentally tripped Brown on the half-way line.
A crucial tackle by Chris Smith prevented Brown from adding a second Alfreton goal 15 minutes from time after Clayton had laid off a Mullan free-kick, then with only three minutes to go Adriano Moke should have scored for City when sent clear by Chambers only for his shot to be held defiantly by Lowson.
As the Reds endured a nail-biting four minutes of added time Lowson added two more good saves to his repertoire when he held a low drive from Chambers and then caught another effort from Moke.
Alfreton: Lowson; Franks, Franklin, M.Wilson, Young, Brown, Mullan, Streete, Mackin, Clayton (Jarman 83), Senior (Ellison 89). Other subs: Moult, Hawes, Hall.
Attendance: 3,166 (200 from Alfreton).