Match Report -
Round Three to Alfreton
By Iain Benson
In the third meeting of the two teams in seven days Alfreton got a lucky break to take the three points, but on balance of play the result was probably a fair reflection.

The first half saw Celtic playing a different system to last week, and Alfreton proved difficult to break down through the middle, whilst the visitors had similar trouble getting through Celtic's rear guard seeing Alan White making his debut. Connor Jennings tested Paddy Gamble early on, but though the shot lacked power it was well placed, and Gamble did well, whilst at the other end, Jan Budtz pulled off a great point blank save from Liam Hearn. Celtic were forced into conceding a corner, and they did not deal with the incoming ball very well, allowing Hearn to get the telling touch to force the ball over the line in a melee.

Greg Wilkinson had a glorious chance moments later to bring Celtic level, but screwed his free kick over the bar, and at the other end, Anthony Howell's cracking shot brough the best out of Budtz. Jennings put a low shot past the post, and Wilkinson put a free kick over the bar, whilst Josh Law also spurned a glorious chance with a header from a corner.

Phil Marsh was brought on at the start of the second half, and the formation was put back to use the width, immediately Celtic looked more dangerously. His lay off gave Jennings a good chance, but he scuffed shot wide. However, when Lee Elam was brought on, Celtic looked even more dangerous and the two substitutes linked up superbly, Elam moving inside and providing the perfect ball into the path of Marsh. Marsh made no mistake with a great low strike beyond Gamble's reach. Hobson could have put Celtic two up, but he didn't get a clean strike on the ball, allowing Gamble a straightforward catch.

Alfreton's winner, when it came, although it gave the scoreline a look of the balance of play, was emminently stoppable, and fortuitous in the extreme. After Wilkinson's loss of concentration in the middle of the park, Alfreton attacked with pace, but Alan Wright forced Hearn wide, Hearn's shot ricocheted off Wright's leg, back onto Hearn and beyond the reach of Budtz.

Substitute Paul Clayton then put a corner wide, before Tim Ryan overstretched dispossessing Clayton in the box and was replaced by Kristian Platt.

Alfreton were content to defend their one goal lead and run the clock down, and they did that to great effect, with time running out for Celtic to get an equaliser, they ran out of ideas for unlocking the visiting defence, and Alfreton could open a gap at the top of the table.

Celtic had a glorious chance in front of a bumper crowd to enamour enough of them to return, but failed to capitalise on already knocking Alfreton out of the FA Cup and beat the league leaders.

1Gamble, Paddy  
2Law, Josh  
3Brown, AntonYellow Card 
4Flint, Aden  
5Franklin, Connor  
6Wilson, Laurie  
7Hall, Jordan  
8Howell, Anthony  > 88
9Wilson, Anthony  > 66
10Hearn, Liam  
11Ross, Ian  > 71
12Hall, Chris  < 71
14Clayton, Paul  < 66
15Shaw, Chris  < 88
16Arnold, Nathan  
17Turner, Ross  
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