• George Edmonds

Linnets prove too good for Alfreton in Trophy

Alfreton Town exited the Buildbase FA Trophy on Tuesday night as National League King's Lynn produced a professional and high quality attacking display to win 3-1 at Basford’s Greenwich Avenue and progress to the fourth round.

An exquisite Bobby Johnson second half goal got Alfreton back into the game after an Adam Marriott brace, however they couldn't find the equaliser as a late Ross Barrows tap in sealed the win.

The fixture was moved to the home of Basford United after a waterlogged pitch at the Impact Arena on Tuesday following a morning pitch inspection.

The Reds named an unchanged line-up from the side that picked up a point against Chorley ten days prior and looked to gain momentum the 3G pitch, but they fell behind to a neat bit of play by the Linnets which Adam Marriott played clean through the middle and he was able to pick his spot and slot a finish into the bottom corner past George Willis with just two minutes gone.

The Reds responded well to falling behind, a Luke Rawson flicked header on six causing trouble for the Lynn defence, but Dom Smith was unable to get a shot away at goal in amongst the scramble.

Action from Tuesday's game at Basford. Photo: Alfreton Town FC.

Alfreton were looking dangerous from set pieces and this brought the Reds' best chance in the opening 15 when Johnson delivered for James Jones who just missed the target with a header at the near post.

The Linnets had a chance to threaten from a set piece of their own on 18 when Smith was booked for the Reds for tugging back Kairo Mitchell. Sonny Carey’s resulting free kick was deflected for a corner and came to nothing.

Both Reds’ centre backs were in the book by 23 as Kings Lynn had another free kick chance in a decent position but this was headed over the bar by Chris Smith.

The ever-dangerous Marriott had another golden chance to double King's Lynn's lead on with 30 gone when a long punt by goalkeeper Archie Mair was chested into his path by Mitchell, but an even better block from Smith prevented the shot going toward Willis’s goal.

The game was turning into a real end to end contest just past the half hour mark with Connor Branson having a decent chance that was saved by Mair on 32, Carey seeing a header flash wide for the Linnets.

Alfreton had one last chance in the first half, as Rawson led a breakaway from a King's Lynn corner and found Johnson who hit a pot shot from distance that seemed to catch the goalkeeper out as it bounced and skidded on the turf, he could only flap it away for a corner which was cleared.

The second half saw Nicky Walker come off with just three minutes gone, who appeared to be struggling from a knock sustained in the first half. This gave Nathan Fox the chance to impress against his old employers following their promotion last year.

Mitchell gave Willis a test from distance that he saved comfortably, but a positive start to the second-half from Alfreton was quashed when Mitchell found Marriott with another perfectly weighted pass to double the Linnets' lead on 67 as he was allowed the freedom of Nottingham to beat Willis and score with a low placed finish into the bottom corner inside the box.

This prompted Billy Heath into an immediate attacking change as he brought on Elliott Reeves on 68 and Shaun Tuton on 81, but it was Johnson on 76 who gave the Reds a way back into the game with a fantastic strike into the bottom corner from 25 yards to reduce the arrears.

However, hopes for a Reds equaliser were dashed with three minutes to go when Barrows tapped in following a save from Willis to deny Carey's initial low shot.

The Reds gave it a good go but ultimately the quality of opposition told in front of goal and it was King's Lynn who head to Hornchurch in the fourth round in January.

Next up for Alfreton is a return to league action and the trip to face Boston United on Boxing Day, kick off at 3pm.

ATFCXI: Willis, Clackstone, Atkinson, Branson, Jones, Lund, Smith, Bradley (c) (Reeves 68), Rawson (Tuton 81), Johnson, Walker (Fox 48).

Subs Not Used: Unwin-Marris, Clarke, Lees.