Wrexham advanced to the FA Cup Second Round with a convincing 3-1 victory courtesy of an Andy Bishop brace (24, 49) and a Jay Harris strike (72).
Preparation is often the key and as the visitors only arrived at the Racecourse at gone 2.20pm (delaying the kick-off to 3.15) it was certainly the home side who reaped the rewards with a pulsating first-half display.
Wrexham made all the early running as Rob Ogleby had a shot blocked after good work from Bishop and also fizzed a rasping 25-yarder narrowly wide.
Brett Ormerod and Neil Ashton delivered some testing crosses into the visitors’ box but they were competently dealt with by the experienced duo of Nick Fenton and Chris Westwood.
From one of Ashton’s deep crosses Bishop did well to cushion the ball into the path of Joe Clarke but he dragged an effort wide while Alfreton remained dangerous on the break.
Dan Bradley carried the ball 60 yards but his ball in was eventually hacked away by Harris before Job Ayo Akinde shrugged off a sliding challenge from Stephen Wright and his low cross was cleared by Mark Carrington with two players ready to pounce behind him.
The breakthrough duly came for Wrexham from another excellent cross from Ashton. The left-back picked out the near post run of Bishop and despite Ross Atkin getting a good hand to the striker’s flicked header the ball nestled in the top corner.
Bishop was looking lively and when Dean Keates won an aerial challenge on the edge of the area the centre-forward wriggled clear of Fenton but shot wide with his left foot.
A flowing move involving Keates, Bishop and Harris fed Ogleby down the left and his cross-come-shot came back off the crossbar and Ormerod was unable to convert the rebound.
Alfreton almost equalised against the run of play on the stoke of half-time. Keates was disposed by Bradley on the half-way line and the midfielder cut inside past Artell but his curling finish was tipped wide by Andy Coughlin.
The Dragons doubled their lead just after the half-time interval after another impressive team move. Carrington fed Ormerod inside the area and his intelligent cutback was side-footed home by Bishop.
The home side looked up for it and Reds’ keeper Atkin was very busy all of a sudden. He got down smartly at his near post to smother an effort from Ogleby before denying Ormerod with a full length diving save to his right.
The visitors found themselves back in the match courtesy of a penalty on the hour mark. Wright committed a needless foul on Ayo Akinde and ex-Red Speight confidently drilled the spot kick home.
Alfreton suddenly had a new lease of life and the home side rode their luck a little as Bradley’s teasing curler drifted narrowly wide before Coughlin punched a cross against his own cross bar in a nervy period of the game.
Wrexham were back in control with 18 minutes left. Ormerod saw an effort parried by Atkin and while Harris might not have caught the follow-up cleanly his left foot volley beat the keeper and a defender to drop inside the far post.
Ormerod was at the heart of everything Wrexham produced and fed Clarke moments later but the midfielder lifted the ball over the advancing Atkin and wide of the far post.
Wrexham looked dominant again and Ormerod almost got the goal his performance deserved with ten minutes left, turning and shooting from 20 yards but seeing Atkin tip the ball over the bar.
Theo Bailey-Jones and Adrian Cieslewicz had late run outs, and both troubled the visitors’ goal, as Atkin made a notable save from Bailey-Jones after a mazy run.
It was arguably Wrexham’s best performance of the season to date and fans can now look forward to tomorrow’s second round draw.
Wrexham (4-3-3): Coughlin; Carrington, Wright, Artell, Ashton; Keates, Harris (Hunt 89), Clarke; Ogleby (Bailey-Jones, 76), Bishop, Ormerod (Cieslewicz 86).
Subs: Mayebi, Creighton, Tomassen, Colbeck.
Alfreton Town (4-4-2): Atkin; Wood (Akinde 90), Westwood, Fenton, Rowe-Turner; Shaw (Meadows 58), Bradley, McGrath, Law; Ayo Akinde (Franklin 87), Speight.
Subs: Wylde, Kempson.
Referee: Darren England (Yorks)
Bookings - None