08 Sep 2019 in Match Reports
Alfreton Town 3
Morgan-Smith (10), (21) & (71)
Curzon Ashton 2
Wall (88), Regan (90+3)
An Amari Morgan-Smith hat-trick condemned Curzon Ashton to a fifth defeat in six games despite a late fightback against Alfreton Town.
Morgan-Smith's first half double put the hosts in control and the game would have been over by half-time were it not for Cam Mason's penalty save from the same player.
Alfreton's main man was not to be denied his hat-trick though as he took advantage of a defensive mistake to make it 3-0 with 20 minutes remaining.
Luke Wall pulled one back from the penalty spot - an incident which saw Alfreton's Danny Clarke sent off - and Matt Regan nodded in a second in injury time, but it was too little too late for Curzon.
Things are not quite falling the Nash's way at the moment and the pre-game news of Sean Miller suffering a stress fracture to his left foot during the week and Olly Thornley failing a late fitness test was further bad news for manager Mark Bradshaw who is already without key players Mo Ali and Robbie Evans.
That meant two changes to the team which lost to Chester with Luke Merrill back in the starting line-up and Liam Davies making his first competitive start for the Nash.
Alfreton are unbeaten at home this season under Billy Heath, a manager who has previously experienced plenty of success in the National League North with North Ferriby United and Halifax Town.
And they showed why they will be a threat to any team with their direct style of play causing early problems for Curzon's centre-back pairing of Regan and Danny Shaw.
That led to the opening goal 10 minutes in when Morgan-Smith headed in unmarked at the near post and to compound that bad start, Shaw was forced off with an injury picked up in the build up.
It was two shortly afterwards when Regan brought down Danny East inside the box and Morgan-Smith smashed the resultant penalty high towards goal.
It looked for a second like Curzon had earned a reprieve as the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced out only for the linesman to indicate the ball had crossed the line first.
Youngster Elliott Cooke - who had come on in place of Shaw - gave away another penalty on the stroke of half time, but this time Mason kept out Morgan-Smith's spot kick to give the Nash a glimmer of hope going into the second half.
That glimmer was extinguished when Morgan-Smith capitalised on Nicky Wroe's short back pass and easily finished for his 10th goal of the season.
Having barely threatened all game, Curzon forced their way back into contention in the final two minutes.
Alfreton's Clarke was shown a harsh second yellow card for blocking a Curzon shot with his arm and Wall found the bottom right corner with his spot-kick.
Regan then reduced the deficit to one when he headed in Michael Elstone's superb cross, but Alfreton managed to hang on to move up to fourth in the table with Curzon dropping one place to 18th.
Alfreton: Atkinson, Clackstone, Wilde, Lynch, Killock, Qualter, Thacker, Smith, Clarke, Morgan-Smith (Blake 77), East.
Subs not used: Williams, Whitham, Hinchley.
Curzon: Mason, Halls, Shaw (Cooke 11) (Wall 61), Regan, Askew, Wroe, Davies, Merrill, Banister, Sinclair, Saunders (Elstone 71).
Subs not used: McCoy, Thornley.