Alfreton Town are up and running for the new Skrill Premier season with a magnificent win against last season’s runners-up at the Impact Arena on Tuesday night.
Two goals from Dan Bradley against his old team, either side of a Tom Shaw strike, helped the Reds to defeat Kidderminster Harriers for the first time at the sixth attempt.
All the goals might have been scored by midfielders but up front Alfreton positively sparkled, with Paul Clayton as lively as ever and a promising debut from journeyman striker John Akinde whose pace at times was electrifying.
Solid performances at the back held Harriers at bay, but the visitors really should have scored more than their 79th minute consolation in a game that was played at a frantic pace throughout.
Anthony Malbon’s seventh minute drive was held low by Reds’ keeper Ross Atkins, but just four minutes later Bradley had slotted the ball home from six yards from a well-practised Josh Law free-kick to give Alfreton the lead.
John McGrath’s lob from outside the area was held by Harriers’ keeper Danny Lewis, then a superb point-blank block by Atkins prevented Malbon from scoring in the 18th minute from a precise Marvin Johnson cross.
Nick Fenton headed forcibly behind to concede a corner from Johnson’s 20th minute cross, then in response a deflected Tom Shaw shot produced a stretching save from Lewis.
Bradley’s through-ball on 24 minutes released Akinde, who was denied and temporarily injured by an excellent tackle on the edge of the area by Chey Dunkley, then two minutes later Kidderminster skipper Kyle Storer smashed the ball against the crossbar with venom from 25 yards.
Malbon miskicked in front of goal from a Storer cross, and as the visitors continued to press Fenton headed behind again from an awkward Malbon delivery.
Johnson skipped through six minutes before the break only to shoot woefully wide from a good position, then Akinde started the second half with a piercing run before firing wide.
Michael Gash was afforded a clear header at the back post from a deep right-flank cross in the 47th minute but missed the target, then Bradley shot wide for the Reds after Law’s lengthy run.
A second goal for Alfreton arrived after 51 minutes, the ball knocked inside by Akinde for Clayton to chest down into the path of Shaw, who side-footed it into the corner of the net from 12 yards.
Gash glanced a header wide from another Johnson cross as play once again oscillated from end to end, with Law then firing wide for the Reds after another long run.
The third and best goal of the night came after 70 minutes when Clayton sent Bradley on the longest run of the game, the midfielder’s sortie culminating in a low drive from 25 yards to beat Lewis.
Clayton glanced a header wide from a Bradley cross before Dunkley wasted yet another Kidderminster chance from a Johnson corner, but with 11 minutes remaining Storer was able to score from 22 yards after a neat back-heel by Gash.
Right at the end Bradley almost completed his hat-trick after good approach work from Law and Akinde, but had he scored would have been caught off-side anyway.
ALFRETON: Atkins; Wood, Fenton, Westwood, Franklin, Law, Shaw, Bradley, McGrath, Akinde, Clayton. Subs not used: Kempson, Ramsey-Dickson, Meadows, Wishart, Taylor.