Alfreton tough it out to take all three points with a double from Clayton
ALFRETON Town had to dig deep to overcome Woking and claim all three Blue Square Bet Premier points.
Paul Clayton capped a fine personal performance by heading both goals from close range to take his campaign tally to nine – only one shy of his total last season.
His opener, after 26 minutes, came from what was virtually Alfreton's first direct attack of the game, his free header from Josh Law's corner beating goalkeeper Aaron Howe from five yards.
The decisive second goal nine minutes after the break came after Daniel Meadows saw his stinging drive parried by Howe. Meadows reacted quickly to head the loose ball to the back post, where Clayton duly obliged.
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Jon Stewart in the Reds' goal needed to make a very good save as Dean Sinclair ran on to Gavin McCallum's pass after 19 minutes but four minutes after taking the lead, Alfreton skipper Nathan Arnold dragged his shot across goal after being sent through by Clayton.
Woking equalised after 38 minutes when Stewart failed to hold John Nutter's free-kick and, despite a partial clearance, Brett Williams was on hand to smash the ball high into the net from an angle.
Clayton must have thought he'd done enough to score when Leigh Franks headed another accurate Law corner into the six-yard box in first-half added time but, as the striker swung at the ball, Woking defender Joe McNerney somehow blocked it on the line.
As the second half began, a slip by Ross Killock momentarily let in McCallum but his snap shot was held by Stewart.
Seven minutes after retaking the lead, Alfreton had a let-off when McCallum's dangerous run culminated in a woeful shot that skimmed away for a throw-in, with Franks doing just enough to put him off his aim.
McCallum failed miserably again moments later, heading over when well placed following a Williams cross.
Back at the other end, Matty Harriott, making his debut in midfield at the beginning of a spell on loan from Sheffield United, got in a shot that was held by Howe.
Dan Bradley set up the chance for Harriott after Arnold chased Theo Streete's through-ball to the bye-line.
Nine minutes from the end, Howe parried from Arnold after being sent through by Franks and despite Arnold recovering the loose ball to feed both Bradley and Meadows, a promising move petered out suddenly with the Cardinals stretched.
Woking substitute Loick Pires tested Stewart with an angled drive after 85 minutes but as the hosts cranked up the pressure, Alfreton's resolute defence held firm.
Efforts from Jayden Stockley, Williams and Pires again were resisted in a late flurry of activity and Alfreton took a valuable away win.