Posted by: Laura Hammond
Mon 20th February 2023
Written by Will Sendel
Jordan Thewlis’ late strike at the Impact Arena secured a crucial three points for Alfreton Town against bottom of the league AFC Telford United on Saturday (February 18).
The win keeps the Reds’ promotion hopes alive, sitting just three points outside the play-off places with two games in hand.
Billy Heath made several changes to his side for the match. Defender Dwayne Wiley’s absence as a result of his red card against Curzon Ashton forced Conor Branson to fill in as a make-shift centre-half. In-form Thewlis was rotated to the bench to make way for Yusifu Ceesay.
A scrappy start in the rain didn’t allow either side to cement any control on the game, with the ball spending more time in the air than anywhere else.
Despite both teams continuing to attack it was clear that Alfreton were becoming frustrated with their lack of dominance. To make matters worse for The Reds, Dayle Southwell’s hamstring injury forced him off the pitch, with Thewlis replacing him on the right wing in the twenty-third minute of play.
Town grew into the game, particularly down the left side of the pitch where Cissey proved to be a thorn in the side of Telford right-back Luke Burke. Cissey’s trademark burst of pace saw Alfreton come close to breaking the deadlock, when the former Barcelona Academy winger’s cross to Matt Rhead forced a smart save from goalkeeper Joe Young.
The on-loan Wolves keeper made several crucial stops in the first half to keep AFC Telford level, the choice of which being an astonishing acrobatic save to stop Branson’s powerful header finding the top right corner of the net.
The tide shifted at the beginning of the second half, with AFC Telford becoming more of a threat as the minutes ticked on. Opposition striker Montel Gibson had the lions share of chances, coming closest when he glanced a header over George Willis’ bar from twelve yards out in the seventy-second minute.
The last ten minutes of the game offered both teams opportunities, but it was the home side who managed to grab a late win. In the eighty-sixth minute a long pass from the back was flicked on by Rhead, and after some defensive confusion from AFC Telford the ball found itself at Thewlis’ feet who stroked the ball past Young to secure three vital points.
Alfreton gaffer Billy Heath praised his side for their defensive resilience after the game.
“A clean sheet is everything. The most important thing is to keep a clean sheet at all times”.
“We were saying at half time, if we can’t get the three points, we make sure we get one. But in the end, we got all three which is great.”
Heath’s focus now turns to Tuesday night’s match against Scarborough Athletic, where another victory could take The Reds into the play-off places.
Alfreton Town 1 – 0 AFC Telford United
Official Matchday Attendance – 509
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