Alfreton Town beaten as York City strengthen Blue Square Premier play-off hopes

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Alfreton Town lost for only the second time in nine games when a slick York City won at a rainswept Impact Arena on Easter Monday afternoon.

However the best news came from 105 miles down the M1 where Hayes & Yeading’s defeat at Luton Town secured the Reds’ second season in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

There were two changes that manager Nicky Law was forced to make from that historic win at Wrexham three days earlier, with Adam Quinn and Nathan Arnold failing to recover from injuries - Theo Streete and Jamie Mullan both regaining their places.

A long throw from Lanre Oyebanjo after just 65 seconds led to Reds’ keeper Jon Stewart having to tip over a speculative lob from Danny Pilkington, then in the sixth minute Patrick McLaughlin’s low drive was parried by Stewart.

Pilkington then fired over from Jamie Reed’s cross as York kept up the early pressure, then in the tenth minute Matthew Blair’s 25 yard left-footer rebounded off the upright.

A very important tackle by the ever alert Streete halted Blair’s dangerous run down the left in the 15th minute, then as Alfreton eventually made their presence felt Josh Law’s by-line cross had to be hacked behind for a fruitless corner by Chris Smith.

Oyebanjo’s clearance from Law’s 22nd minute corner fell to Mullan who fired over, then at the other end Reed stabbed wide from a York flag-kick.

Anthony Wilson squandered a decent chance after latching on to a casual pass from City defender James Meredith, his shot blocked by visiting keeper Michael Ingham, then Stewart had to parry from Oyebanjo in the 36th minute.

The game was swinging from end to end at this stage and Law’s free-kick had to be tipped over by Ingham after Wilson had been fouled, then from the corner Jake Moult’s shot was blocked by Smith.

Two minutes after the break Darran Kempson impeded Reed who took the resulting penalty, despite the Alfreton skipper’s protestations that the tackle had been outside the area, only for Stewart to save superbly low to his right and keep the Reds on level terms.

Another vital tackle by Streete prevented Reed from scoring in the 50th minute, then two minutes later Anton Brown almost sliced McLaughlin’s cross into his own net.

A volley from Adam Cunnington from just inside the area only troubled the side-netting, then in the 68th minute Adriano Moke’s shot from Reed’s cross had to be tipped over by Stewart.

York led on 69 minutes when Blair swept the ball in after Moke’s shot had been blocked, then as Alfreton responded Oyebanjo had to head behind Mullan’s deep cross which was homing in on target Nathan Jarman.

The busy Oyebanjo made the game safe for the Minstermen in the 76th minute when he drilled McLaughlin’s cross past Stewart from six yards, then moments later the rain became torrential and any fluency for the remainder of the match was eradicated.

The pitch never cut up but standing water almost brought a halt to proceedings, and just about the only noteworthy moment at either end in the closing stages was a low drive from Alfreton sub Nicky Deverdics that flashed inches wide in the 86th minute.