Alton reached the next round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 victory at home to Bradford Town in their Preliminary Round replay on Tuesday night.
The largest crowd seen at Anstey Park for some years witnessed a thoroughly entertaining and competitive FA Cup replay.
The game was played at a furious pace in the early stages. The visitors were dominant in possession without being able to create a clear-cut chance as the home defence stood firm.
Alton grew into the game and took the lead after 15 minutes. The ball was cleared to the edge of the box, where Ritchie Hunter crashed a right-foot half-volley in off the right-hand post.
Both sides got forward as often as possible as the game ebbed and flowed.
The home defence did well to block a fierce free kick from the edge of the box, and then Henry Woodcock made a stunning save when he tipped a shot from 25 yards on to the crossbar and the home defenders cleared the danger.
Alton started the second half on the front foot and got their second goal on 52 minutes.
Bradford were unable to clear a corner properly and when the ball fell to Scott Sanderson on the edge of the box, he avoided two challenges before rolling the ball square to George Bowerman, who passed the ball into the net from 18 yards to the delight of the home crowd.
This now allowed the home side to control the game, and during good spells of possession they were able to create some good chances to finish off the game.
Ollie Graham slipped Bowerman through one-on-one with the keeper, who did well to block with his legs, and Jack Fowler burst past three defenders on the left and crashed a shot against the crossbar as Alton pressed.
Bradford continued to pass the ball well and remained a threat, but the home defence stood up well and when an opportunity arose the ball seemed to run for them rather than the visitors.
On 90 minutes the home side scored again. Fowler and Ed Dryden took the ball into the corner to keep possession and engaged a group of defenders. Between the two of them they created a crossing opportunity and Dryden delivered a delicious cross to the back post, where Bowerman headed home from six yards.
Alton will host Sholing in the next round of the FA Cup on Saturday, September 4. The game kicks off at 3pm.
n ALTON drew 1-1 at Bradford Town in the original tie on Saturday.
On 20 minutes the home side took the lead with a superb strike from 20 yards into the far left-hand corner past the despairing dive of Henry Woodcock in the Alton goal.
The last action of the half came when Woodcock blocked a close-range effort, and in the goalmouth scramble Dylan Riley was on the spot to clear.
The game continued to be played at a good pace and changed on an outstanding save from Woodcock, who got a strong left hand to a powerful header that looked goalbound.
Alton equalised on the hour mark. Matt Benham hit a shot from 20 yards and the home keeper could only parry the ball back into the danger area, where Rob Carr reacted quickest to slot home the equaliser.
This appeared to rattle the home side their left-back accumulated two bookings within five minutes, leaving, Bradford with ten men for the last 20 minutes.
Alton nearly grabbed a winner in injury time. Chris Horton met a corner at point-blank range with a header, but the home keeper pushed the ball over the crossbar.