Nuneaton Town 2 Alfreton Town 0
Saturday 7th November, 2015;
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
On December 6th, 2014, Boro fans began to worry.
A 1-0 home defeat to Alfreton Town, a relegation six-pointer they really needed to win, left many wondering if Nuneaton would manage to pull clear in the Vanarama National League.
It turned out to be a fight they would not win.
Fast forward 11 months and where there was once despair, there now sits hope, a 1-0 defeat replaced with a 2-0 win.
Relegation worries replaced with a genuine belief that promotion will await at the end of April.
Now, after a storming start to life in the Vanarama National League North, the Boro look like a club on the up, a fourth straight win, once again almost comfortable looking, is testament to that.
They never looked like repeating that 1-0 loss this time round, as the Boro looked a class above at the A1 Gas Force Arena.
Their class was evident from the off as straight from the kick-off Elliott Whitehouse went on a driving run into the Alfreton box – his final effort did not match the preceding run, though, as he sent his effort into the side netting.
That opening foray set the tone for the first half, as although the chances were not free-flowing, they nearly all went to Whitehouse, he tested Alfreton keeper Matt Duke with one of them, but saw two others fly over and then one trickle wide of the post.
The only other attempt of note came from James Clifton who sent a rasping drive just wide of the upright after breaking forward from full-back, cutting inside his man and hitting a well-struck shot with his left foot.
The Boro would have been disappointed not to be ahead after their efforts, but thanks to another fast start after the break, they didn't have to wait long to break the deadlock.
There were just two minutes on the second half clock when Shane Byrne struck, the midfielder sent a precise, low, curling effort past the outstretched hand of Duke and into the far corner of the net.
A wonderful finish from arguably Nuneaton's player of the season so far.
The chances continued to come for the home side after that with Byrne going close to doubling his own, and the Nuneaton tally, moments later, with Aaron Williams also testing Duke with a thunderous effort from close range.
The former Rushall man could be forgiven for not finding the net with that effort as Duke more than matched it with a fine save, but on the hour mark Williams could, and should, have added to his ten goals already this season.
Clifton once again found room on the right hand side, sliding a fine through ball to Williams in the box. The England C man rushed at the chance, though, sending it skywards when well placed, an effort he should have converted.
All good strikers miss chances at some point, it is how they respond that counts, and Williams responded in devastating fashion in the 75th minute.
Playing on the shoulder of the last defender Williams was given a slice of luck when a ball over the top left him with the whole of the Alfreton half to run into unopposed. He remained calm, moved in towards goal and slotted it past Duke to double the Boro lead.
It was just reward not only for Williams, but for the team as a whole, as they continued to push on at the top-end of the table…what a difference a year makes.
NUNEATON TOWN: J.Smith, Clifton, Lane, Maguire, C.Keane (Reid 77), Morgan, Byrne, Chettle, Whitehouse (Daniels 83), Williams, Duffy.
Subs not used: Harewood, De La Paz, R.Smith.
ALFRETON TOWN: Duke, Moyo, Gaunski, Allan, Heaton, (Jackson 72) Wilson, Leesley (Thanoj 66) , Johnston (Smith 81), Jones, Ironside, Robertson.
Subs not used: Pailing, Draper.