Alfreton Town 0
Nuneaton Town 3
ADAM Walker’s second half hat-trick gave Nuneaton Town a precious first win of the season as they beat Alfreton Town 3-0.
The midfielder made it an impressive five goals in as many games as he handed Boro a massive confidence boost.
It was a scrappy game, but they will not care how the victory was earned. It was certainly hard earned as the promoted side went toe-to-toe with a physical and direct opponent for 90 minutes.
If they can continue in the same vein of the last three games then Blue Square Bet Premier survival and maybe a little bit more is a distinct possibility.
Manager Kevin Wilkin made two changes to the team which drew 2-2 with Cambridge United. Gaz Dean returned to the centre of the defence in place of Manny Parry, while Kyle Patterson played in a front three instead of Robbie Thompson-Brown.
The first half was low on quality but high on chances as the swirling wind seemed to play a significant part in proceedings as both sides looked to go long.
Walker saw a 20 yard drive parried by Alfreton keeper Phil Barnes in the third minute. Patterson buried the rebound but he was offside.
If he had had the presence of mind to let it go Walker could have run on to his own shot and it would have stood, but that was a big ask in the heat of the moment.
Paul Clayton also had the ball in the net for the hosts after six minutes, but he too was offside. A minute later Collett spilled a loose ball and Ben Tomlinson chipped it towards goal, only for Delroy Gordon to get back and head it off the Boro line.
Gordon was then denied by a clearance off the line at the opposite end as Dean’s overhead kick hit him in the six yard box and was turned away by Theo Streete.
Collett then denied Tomlinson with a fantastic reaction save before Dan Bradley’s cross caught on the wind and totally deceived the keeper.
It dipped sharply and rattled the post, but the rebound fell for Clayton and he looked set to score – only for his shot to clip the bar and go over.
Boro were on the back foot in the closing stages of the half as Simon Russell’s header looked like it may sneak in at the near post until it hit Clayton and ran to safety.
The visitors were much brighter at the start of the second half and they went in front in the 54th minute.
Patterson released Wes York down the left and his cross pinged about on the edge of the box before it broke for Walker, who tucked into the bottom right corner for a third goal in five games.
Alfreton almost responded soon after when Andy Brown headed off the line and then Collett saved at his near post from Nathan Arnold.
The Reds sub made a real difference as he forced another chance, which Anton Brown put tamely wide.
Nuneaton needed the second goal and they got it with 11.minutes to go when Walker showed great composure to cut inside his man on the edge of the box before lashing a great shot across the keeper into the corner from 16 yards.
Boro got the final goal in stoppage time when Thompson-Brown did brilliantly to beat two men. His shot was half cleared but Walker smashed in the rebound.
GOALS: Boro – Walker (53, 79, 90+3)
BORO (4-3-3): Collett 7; Gordon 7, Dean (c) 8, Cowan 9, O’Halloran 7; Sleath 7, Armson 8, Walker 9; Patterson 7, Brown 7, York (Thompson-Brown 82) 7; Subs not used: Perry, Adams, James, Parry
REDS: Barnes, Law, Franklin, Taylor (Arnold 54), Kempson (c), Brown, Clayton, Bradley, Streete (Meadows 89), Russell (Wilson 64), Tomlinson; Subs not used: Franks, Worsfold
REFEREE: Christopher Kavanagh 7
ATTENDANCE: 680 (116 away)
BORO STAR MAN: Adam Walker