Lincoln City ensured a safe path into the first-round of the FA Cup with an emphatic 5-1 victory over 10-man Alfreton.
A hat-trick from Sean Newton and a two second half goals from Delano Sam-Yorke were enough to see off their visitors, who are second bottom of the Conference.
Alfreton, who were unable to name a ‘keeper in their match day squad, did grab a goal through Bradley Wood but their miserable evening was made all the more so by the dismissal of Karl Hawley late on.
Alfreton Town had the odds stacked against them even before a ball was kicked as the club we’re unable to name a goalkeeper in their squad.
Only players registered for Saturday’s tie can play in the replay and the sole goalkeeper in that squad, James Severn, has ruptured his thigh and is out for two months.
The FA rejected an appeal from the club to allow second choice Cameron Dawson to play, which forced manager Nicky Law to play midfielder Anthony Howell in goal.
Whilst Alfreton had to endure 90 minutes with just eleven fully fit playing staff, Lincoln’s Gary Simpson had a luxurious 17 players to pick from.
In the end, that made all the difference as Lincoln hit five to put right the disappointment of the 1-1 draw at North Street three days ago.
It was a dream start for City as Sean Newton converted a 25-yard free kick in expert fashion. The sixth minute strike went up and over the wall before dipping delicately into the bottom-right hand corner.
Lincoln enjoyed the vast majority of the early possession and at that point, it looked as though it could be a very long night indeed for Anthony Howell and Alfreton Town.
Simpson deployed a dynamic midfield three of Jon Nolan and club captain, Alan Power with Arnaud Mendy sitting behind. Nolan was once again excellent in the middle of the park, spraying long searching balls out wide throughout the first half.
On the few occasions when Alfreton did manage to get men forward, Mendy was on hand to comfortably deal with the danger with his great ability to intercept passes while his raw strength meant that the Imps dominated the midfield from start to finish.
Shots were fired in regularly from distance by the likes of Ben Tomlinson and Jordan Burrow who obviously saw Alfreton’s goalkeeper crisis as an opportunity to try and get themselves on the score-sheet.
Alfreton’s chances in the first half were few and far between.
The closest they came was a long-range effort from Dan Bradley which didn’t trouble the recently recalled Paul Farman.
It looked only a matter of time before the second followed and that goal came just before the interval when Ben Tomlinson was brought down around 35 yards from goal.
The set piece appeared inconspicuous at first, but Howell was still left scrambling haplessly to his left in order to try and get a hand to the ball, but this was to no avail.
This handed right-back Newton his second of the game as Lincoln went in 2-0 up at half-time.
Under such difficult circumstances, credit must go to Anthony Howell for filling in for the injured Severn and in the 55th minute, a combination of he and his defenders performed extremely well to deny what looked like a certain goal.
He and his team survived the goal-mouth scramble at 2-0 but the floodgates were about to open.
Just six minutes later, Newton completed his hat-trick, again from a set-piece, as he buried his penalty kick low and hard to the left of the keeper.
This was the start of a nightmare spell in the game for Alfreton as Karl Hawley was dismissed by referee, Ross Joyce for an off the ball incident involving Lincoln’s Tom Miller.
Alfreton pulled one back to make it 3-1 through a header from Bradley Wood, the fourth goal of the evening courtesy of a full-back.
But the resurgence was short lived as substitute Delano Sam-Yorke notched two goals in the space of three minutes to send Gary Simpson’s men to the FA Cup proper.
Overall, it was a deserved victory for Lincoln and in honesty, a 5-1 scoreline probably doesn’t do the team justice as it one such a one-sided affair from the first whistle to the final whistle.
Despite the off-the-field problems surrounding Alfreton in the build up to this fixture, it was a poor performance from Nicky Law’s side and Alfreton were completely overrun in the end by Lincoln.
Eastleigh awaits who, as it stands, are sitting in tenth position in the Vanarama Conference having been promoted as champions of the Conference South in 2013/14.
By Ryan Hall