Match report: Aldershot Town 2 Alfreton Town 3

Alfreton town v Wrexham. Daniel Meadows
Alfreton town v Wrexham. Daniel Meadows

The list of former Football League clubs that Alfreton Town have beaten away from home since joining the Conference reached double figures at Aldershot Town on Saturday.

Manager Nicky Law had the luxury of recalled defenders Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Chris Westwood and Michael Wylde, but he could still only muster four substitutes as his small squad remained stretched through injuries and suspensions.

All three shrugged off their problems to make an important contribution to the Reds’ win in Hampshire, the furthest south they had ever been required to play a League game, the goals coming from midfielders Tom Shaw and Josh Law while Jake Speight opened his account with the winner.

The lively affair began with Rowe-Turner having to block Lewis Young’s shot from a slick Brett Williams pass, then home keeper Nick Pope had to race out of goal to deny Job Ayo Akinde before Wylde’s overhead kick looped over the bar.

Westwood’s header from a 13th minute Law corner went close, then an angled drive from Shaw was gathered low by Pope as Alfreton let their attacking intentions be known.

Rowe-Turner then had to shepherd Young to the by-line as he took a return pass from Mark Molesley in his stride, then at the other end Speight fired weakly at the keeper after Law’s dash to the by-line had left Joe Oastler in his wake.

Law was at the heart of the opening goal after Jake Goodman had been booked for a cynical foul that had stopped Akinde in his tracks, his 23rd minute free-kick charged down before Law delivered the ball to the far post where a Westwood header cleared the path for Shaw to become joint top-scorer with a shot from ten yards.

The lead was short-lived though because five minutes later Aldershot were level when Jaydon Gibbs beat the off-side trap to run on to Molesley’s through-ball and thump the ball past Ross Atkins from the edge of the area.

There was an instant chance for Akinde to restore the Reds’ advantage, but the striker dwelt a moment too long when played through by Wylde, then the move concluded with Dan Bradley’s shot being blocked.

Alfreton’s vocal fans did not have to wait long for their team to be ahead again as Law struck from six yards after Bradley Wood’s long throw in the 31st minute had caused confusion in the Aldershot box.

Two minutes later Molesley’s shot was well held by Atkins, then Law again embarked on a run to the by-line from Bradley’s pass with Speight firing wide of the near post with a snatched shot.

The hosts finished the first half in search of a leveller with Atkins positively punching clear a deadly Chris Barker free-kick and Williams just evading the back post following a swift break.

Aldershot were back on level terms within three minutes of the restart though after Young’s goalbound free-kick had deflected off the wall for a corner, from which Young was left unmarked to feed Williams who literally picked his spot from eight yards.

Williams cut in from the left and fired over as the Shots stepped up a gear, but the turning point came in the 52nd minute when Gibbs failed to connect with Williams’ by-line cross in front of an open goal.

The home side became agitated and frustrated after Atkins had brilliantly parried an angled drive from Barker before holding Oastler’s low drive, because Alfreton led again by the 56th minute when Akinde burst through to cross for Speight to fire home from close range at the far post.

Stanley and Jordan Roberts were each denied by routine saves from Atkins, before Williams’ low drive from Roberts’ cross was held by the Reds’ keeper, but there was no longer the fluency and menace about Aldershot’s play.

The final 15 minutes of the game focused around Kinder’s repeated advances into home territory, Shaw sending him to the by-line with a precision pass although Akinde shot into the side-netting instead of repeating his previous successful cross with Speight again lurking at the back post.

Akinde dealt better with Daniel Meadows’ 79th minute through-ball, this time picking out Law in the centre of goal, but the recipient could only gain the faintest of touches from the driven cross.

Akinde then burst through again to terrorise Aldershot’s young central defenders with seven minutes remaining on the clock, this time on the left, but Speight could not make contact despite maximum effort.

Finally, at the end of a lengthy stretch of added time in which Alfreton had successfully soaked up all of Aldershot’s efforts before they could materialise, Akinde muscled through again only for Pope to hack clear.

ALFRETON: Atkins; Wood (Franklin 68), Wylde, Westwood, Rowe-Turner, Law, Shaw, Bradley, Meadows, J.Akinde, Speight. Subs not used: Kempson, Andrews, S.Akinde.

Attendance: 1,732 (47).