Alfreton Town ploughed their way into the first round proper of the FA Cup for the ninth time in their history with a 4-0 win over St. Neots Town - with all four goals coming inside the opening 27 minutes on Saturday.
The visitors had little or no answer as the Reds swept them aside with a scintillating opening burst of attacking football, although the first goal was fortuitous when Curtis Bateson’s cross from the left curled in at the back post, having left keeper Harry Reynolds unsighted amidst a crowded box.
That came after just five minutes and then 12 minutes later Richard Peniket was impeded by Tom Wood and James Clifton duly obliged from the ensuing penalty to double Alfreton’s lead for 2-0.
When Nathan Hotte pounced on a loose ball to send Peniket through on 21 minutes the striker unsuccessfully tried to go around a defender, but managed to force the ball through for Bateson to strike home his second goal with panache.
Six more minutes and the scoring was completed when Dion Sembie-Ferris brought down Josh Wilde just inside the area and Clifton whacked home his second spot-kick of the first half.
Further chances fell to sub Declan Bacon after the break, desperately unlucky not to score with a powerful header against the crossbar four minutes after the break, then unselfishly squaring the ball for the hat-trick seeking Bateson to be denied by the keeper nine minutes from time when perhaps he had a better scoring opportunity himself.
The visitors’ first real chance fell to Nabil Shariff, the striker who had played a handful of games for Alfreton last season, but his header from a right-wing corner on 69 minutes was well saved by Sam Ramsbottom, who also thwarted Shariff following a long throw 13 minutes later.
ALFRETON: Ramsbottom; Clifton [Clackstone 89], Shiels [Riley h/t], Gowling [Bacon h/t], Wilde, Hird, Johnson, Hotte, Bateson, Clarke, Peniket. Other subs: Chettle, Platt, Sinnott, Nicholson.
St. NEOTS: Reynolds; Miles [Stanley 61], Herd, O’Malley [Olaniran 52], Wood, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Short, Shariff, Williams, Ofosu [Wharton h/t]. Other subs: Fullianty, Douglas.
Referee: Michael Barlow.