Gavin Cowan offered no excuses for his team after this defeat, where his Bucks weren’t able to cope sufficiently well enough with the hosts robust approach. The way Billy Heath’s Alfreton side went about their business would have surprised few; however, as the Bucks can attest, it’s one thing to know what an opponent will do, stopping them is another issue entirely.
The Bucks second loss of the season, both of which have come away from home, was one where they had to win the physical battle first before being able to play their own game. They were unable to do so, and were perhaps focused on the threat posed by old foe Matt Rhead.
The Alfreton no.9 is 37 years old now and his physical threat is well known. The Bucks were missing their own experience campaigner in Nathan Pond, and might have wished he’d been available to counter Rhead’s threat. The Bucks dealt with Rhead well enough, but took their eye off too many of his teammates at vital moments, and paid a heavy price.
Defender Tom Allan opened the scoring on 19 minutes, powerfully nodding home past Russ Griffiths when getting onto the end of a long throw at the near post.
The pace of new Alfreton signing Yusifu Ceesay, who was a Bucks loan signing under Cowan in the 2018/19 season, was a concern, and on a few occasions, he had the defence on red alert, able to turn half-chances into something more with his burning pace.
Griffiths was by far the busier keeper and kept the score to 1-0 at half-time, his own forward line troubling Alfreton only sporadically.
On 54 minutes a great Reds move carved the Bucks open down their left-hand side to double the advantage. Rhead’s flicked-on header sent Dan Bradley away; he got behind the defence and crossed low where the incoming Ceesay was bundled out of it, only for Josh Wilde to arrive unhindered at the far post to net.
The Bucks couldn’t make anything from the possession they had, and Ceesay added the third on 69 minutes when he beat the advancing Griffiths from 12 yards, a defensive error allowing him in to beat the exposed goalkeeper.
Substitute Jack Byrne scored into an empty net after one of the Bucks few notable moves saw Tyrell Hamilton’s low shot turned away by Willis, but the hosts were home and dry.
Referee: Claudio Gavallucci.
Assistants: K.Buckley; L.Saunders-Johnson.
Alfreton Town: Willis, Clackstone, Wilde, Sutton, Smith, Allan, Bradley (Branson 56), Lund (Evans 74), Rhead, Hobson, Ceesay (Southwell 80).
Subs not used: Smith-Eccles, Reeves.
Scorers: Allan (19), Wilde (54), Ceesay (69).
Telford (5-3-2): Griffiths, Birch (Byrne 58), Bood, Lilly, Streete, White, Walker, Oswell (Hamilton 72), Bennett, Durrell, Williams (McHale 58).
Subs not used: Barnes-Homer, Abbey.
Scorer: Byrne (84).
Cautioned: Oswell, Birch, White.