Reds cruise past Nailers in Senior Cup

Paul Clayton was among those on target.
Paul Clayton was among those on target.

Four goals in 26 first-half minutes saw Alfreton Town into the Derbyshire Senior Cup fourth round at the expense of hosts Belper Town on Tuesday night.

The Reds defended their title in style against last season’s runners-up, Paul Clayton finding the net as early as the sixth minute from an Adam Smith cross, only for play to be pulled back for an earlier infringement.

Five minutes later though Mark Shelton fired home through a ruck of players after home keeper Mark Rathbone had failed to deal with a Niall Heaton delivery.

It was 2-0 to the visitors by the 16th minute when Clayton stooped to head home another precision cross from Smith, then Sam Smith headed against the crossbar from yet another perfect delivery by his namesake.

The third goal arrived on 26 minutes when Sam Smith tucked away a Ryan Wilson punt with a deft touch at the back post, then Clayton needed to clear off the line from Alex Steadman six minutes later at the other end.

Eight minutes before half-time Shelton claimed his second goal of the evening when left with a simple tap-in after Rathbone had only been able to parry an angled Clayton drive, and from that point the only danger facing Alfreton was the descending fog.

Belper: Rathbone; Watkiss, Guy, Graves, G.Palmer (Allen 46), Watt, Garnett (Birks 54), Armstrong, Steadman, Williams, Head (Dennis 46)

Subs not used; Butcher, J Palmer.

Alfreton: Spiess; Wilson, McGowan, Kennedy, Heaton, Nyoni, Monkhouse, Shelton, A Smith (Allan 58), Sam Smith (Hearn 83), Clayton (Priestley 68)

Ref: Richard Eley

Att: 156