Alfreton 3-0 FC Halifax Town

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It’s now eight games without an away league win for FC Halifax Town after they lost 3-0 at Alfreton.

The hosts never looked back after loanee Jake Speight put them ahead early on before his second and one from John Akinde made it an afternoon to forget for the below-par Shaymen.

Neil Aspin spoke of the need for his side to stand up physically to Alfreton, but his defence could have done with a step-ladder to cope with towering forward Akinde, who relished getting his head to the repeated long balls sent in his direction as the hosts tried to take advantage of the breeze blowing through the Impact Arena.

He and the lively Speight made for a particularly potent duo as Alfreton’s aerial attack paid handsome dividends and extended Town’s search for an away league win.

The Town boss unsurprisingly kept the same side again, but it was the same story for Town on their travels when Akinde flicked on a long ball into Speight’s path and his shot deflected off Simon Ainge on its way past Matt Glennon.

But chances proved tricky to create in blustery conditions as, Gregory’s half volley and Jon Shaw’s long-range effort apart, both defences were too well organised to offer many more opportunities.

Lois Maynard came closest yet for Town mid-way through the first-half when he fired wide inside the box, with the host struggling to build on their lead.

That was mainly thanks to Marc Roberts, who must have had a sore head by that point after meeting a few of the missiles launched towards Akinde in the swirling wind.

Ainge then saw a venomous shot saved by Ross Atkins as Town built-up a good spell of pressure, which if it had resulted in a goal, could have changed the course of the game.

But Alfreton’s front two combined to lethal effect again after half-an-hour when Akinde nodded down a corner into Speight’s path and his strike partner nodded home.

This was now a test of Town’s character as they faced the prospect of a long hour’s work ahead of them in wintry temperatures, with Dan Gardner enduring a particularly frustrating afternoon, with nothing he tried coming to fruition.

Gregory too could only look on enviously at the chances that fell for Speight, on loan from his old side Mansfield, as the Town striker fed on scraps at the other end.

Town’s top scorer almost reduced the arrears moments after the restart with a stinging drive from the edge of the box which Atkins did well to tip over.

But it was a brief riposte against an Alfreton attack in buoyant mood as Speight was denied his hat-trick by Glennon’s save at the far post moments before Akinde tapped in a deserved goal of his own from close range.

That wind seemed to drop a few degrees more as the Shaymen faced the prospect of a miserable 45 minutes stretching out ahead of them.

Glennon came off his line to save well from Shaw’s low shot as Alfreton pressed for a fourth, with Town uncharacteristically lacking any punch to their play.

The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Town’s performance compared to last week’s win at Nuneaton was then summed up when Ryan Toulson’s wayward free-kick near the halfway line drifted out for a goal kick.

Gregory nearly grabbed a last-gasp consoltaion but his shot across goal struck the post.

Alfreton: Atkins, Wood, Westwood, Law, Shaw, Bradley, Speight, Fenton, McGrath, J Akinde, Rowe-Turner. Subs not used: Franklin, Wylde, Meadows, McFadzean, S Akinde.

Scorers: Speight (14, 31), Akinde (49)

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 6

Halifax: Glennon, Toulson, Ainge, Roberts, Lowe, Smith (Worthington 50), Pearson, Maynard, McManus (Holsgrove 57)}, Gardner (Wilson 79), Gregory. Subs not used: Senior, McReady.

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 4

Attendance: 900

Town man of the match: Lois Maynard