Alfreton 0-2 FC Halifax Town

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Goals from Simon Ainge and Scott Boden helped FC Halifax Town remain in second place in the Conference Premier as they beat Alfreton 2-0.

Town produced a textbook away performance as they sealed their third away win of the season and made it seven points from nine.

Ainge’s first goal of the campaign and Boden’s sixth gave the visitors a deserved win to make it 27 points from a possible first 39 available.

Like Braintree, at the weekend, an unchanged Town had to be up for the battle and they were, with Marc Roberts leading by example as stand-in skipper with another performance guaranteed to enhance his growing reputation.

There can’t be many teams that have had a more Jekyll and Hyde start than Alfreton, who lost their first seven games but had won three of their last four.

But aside from a promising early flurry of pressure, the home side never threatened a repeat performance of last season’s comprehensive victory.

Alfreton supporters could have been forgiven for wondering how the Shaymen finished in the top five based on the awful 90 minutes Town gave at the Impact Arena last season.

But Neil Aspin said his side would be ready for their return visit and it was difficult to argue 12 minutes in.

Shortly before the goal, former Alfreton loanee Boden tested Cameron Dawson with a low drive after Danny Hattersley’s flick-on.

Marc Roberts, still sporting his bandage from Braintree, then caused his usual mayhem from a long-throw, with the ball eventually breaking to Adam Smith, and his cross was an open invitation for Ainge to nod in.

Alfreton competed well, restricting Town to playing on the counter-attack, but Roberts and Steve Williams relished the aerial battle they must have been expecting.

While Roberts and Ainge were out-muscled here last November, the duo attacked any high balls with gusto, starving Karl Hawley and former Shay loanee Joe Ironside of service.

Roberts especially picked up where he left off on Saturday with a commanding display, with an unrelenting habit of being in the right place at the right time.

Roberts was the bane of Alfreton boss Nicky Law’s first-half, as the former Bradford boss grew increasingly exasperated at the Town defenders’ omnipresence.

Hattersley didn’t see much of the ball with the hosts enjoying more possession, but he proved an effective starting point for Halifax breaks up field, linking well with Smith and Boden.

The second-half maintained a similar pattern as Roberts continued to gobble up any high balls lifted in his direction.

But Alfreton didn’t take the hint as their route one approach that had worked so devastatingly last season fell flat.

Roberts remained the biggest thorn in Alfreton’s side at both ends as his long throw was turned in by Boden to double Town’s lead.

That 3-0 win must have seemed a distant memory for the hosts by now.

Alfreton’s persistence with lofted balls towards their front two played right into Halifax’s hands as Law’s side struggled to penetrate the Town defence.

If anything, Town could have extended their comfortable lead as substitute Richard Peniket brought a save from Dawson late on.

Alfreton: Dawson, Wood, Courtney, Graham (Howell 82), Rowe-Turner, Bradley, Keane, Thanoj, Mellor, Hawley (Clayton 84), Ironside (Igiehon 72). Subs not used: Shaw, McDonald.

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Halifax: Glennon, K Roberts, M Roberts, Williams, McManus, Smith (Peniket 62), Pearson, Ainge, Marshall, Boden, Hattersley (Jackson 76). Subs not used: Senior, Schofield, Hibbs.

Scorers: Ainge (12), Boden (54)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 3

Attendance: 705

Town man of the match: Marc Roberts