SEAN NEWTON netted a brace of free kicks to keep York City at the top of National League North with a 3-1 win at Alfreton Town.

Alex Kempster scored the other for his second goal in two consecutive starts to send York back from Derbyshire with a good three points.

Looking for a reaction from the last two games, York started strongly and went two up inside 15 minutes.

Alfreton battled back into contention and made life hard for City with close, physical marking, though they lacked a real goal threat.

York looked to have regained some composure on the ball by the second half and Newton's second killed the game off.

Alfreton boss Billy Heath made three changes to the side that started the Reds’ 5-0 defeat to Spennymoor Town last time out.

Shane Killock and Conor Branson dropped to the bench, while loanee Danny Elliott returned to Chester.

Substitutes against Spenny, Ben Tomlinson and Dale Whitham were in the starting 11 alongside Nottingham Forest loanee Ethan Stewart.

Former Manchester United youngster Andy Kellett, another new addition, began the day on the bench.

Steve Watson made two changes for the trip to the Impact Arena with midfielders Paddy McLaughlin and Adriano Moke dropping to the bench.

In their places, captain Steve McNulty returned to the starting line-up following the midweek defeat to Hereford while Adam Buxton earned himself a first start after impressing off the bench.

Goalscorer Alex Kempster was rewarded with another starting berth alongside Jordan Burrow and Dan Maguire up front.

City’s modus operandi was to be as forward-thinking as possible. Within five minutes, Alfreton had to hack clear a left-wing cross to the near post, Kieran Green trickled a shot wide from outside the area and Dan Maguire was caught offside after good work down the left by David Ferguson.

York were ahead in the ninth minute through a Sean Newton free kick. Newton had already shown his credentials is bursting out of defence to combine with Ferguson and, when Buxton was toppled over from behind by Bobby Johnson just outside the area, he got a chance to show his strike power. His low set piece nestled in the bottom left corner of keeper Jordan Wright’s goal.

Kempster doubled the visitors’ lead four minutes later with a confident left-footed finish. Burrow nodded on Joe Tait’s throw from the York half and Kempster took it under control, held off his man and planted beyond Wright.

Illustrating the belief the flying start had given York, Ferguson took a right-footed curling effort from outside the area with a mass of bodies in his way, and Kempster – with similarly difficult effort from 20 yards out forced Wright to fumble out for a corner with a bouncing strike.

After the rip-roaring start, Alfreton were able to work their way back into the game. With Buxton sitting in front of the back three, York looked mostly solid though Amari Morgan-Smith did cause a couple of hairy moments, Tait pulling off an acrobatic block to deny him in the area on one occasion.

Kallum Griffiths was caught out on the defensive right and clumsily conceded a free kick near the byline but the set piece was over everyone.

As half-time approached, the game indeed became more physical and York struggled to compose themselves on the ball. Maguire was fed at the end of a nice passage of play and he followed his Cruyff-esque turn beyond Stewart with a low, right-footer just beyond the far post.

Alfreton’s best chance came when Tomlinson stretched to meet a right-wing delivery after bursting into the middle but Pete Jameson was able to watch it comfortably into his possession.

Alfreton had a good chance in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Newton misjudged a clearance on the left and Morgan-Smith nipped in. Jameson tipped the shot from the cutback round the post. From the second phase of the corner, Jameson bravely blocked from Morgan-Smith, who was called offside.

Buxton was the originator of York’s best chance in the first quarter of an hour. He tracked back well to steal the ball off Morgan-Smith and release Ferguson, whose left-wing ball in was easily gathered.

Green came close after the 70-minute mark with a headed effort from a tight-angled Newton cross in. Newton – who had earlier forced a good save with a 25-yard free kick – delivered to the near post where Green met it but the ball was cleared from somewhere near the line.

At the other end, Jameson made an exquisite save to deny Danny East. Morgan-Smith clipped in a cross and East made good contact four yards out but Jameson got a strong hand to it and tipped over.

Newton made it three in the 80th minute in front of the rapturous away fans. Again from a 25-yard free kick, his curling effort hit the top of the wall and it looped over Wright.

Clarke pulled one back for Alfreton with two minutes remaining, beating the offside trap and thumping a left-footed effort beyond Jameson at his near post.

Alfreton: Wright, East (Freiter 78), Wilde, Clarke, Qualter, Smith, Stewart, Tomlinson (Kellett 67), Whitham, Morgan-Smith, Johnson. Subs not used: Killock, Lynch, Branson.

Goals: Clarke

York: Jameson 8, Tait 8, McNulty 8, Newton 8, Griffiths 7, Ferguson 8, Buxton 8, Green 8, Kempster 7 (Jones 82), Maguire 7 (Moke 7, 64), Burrow 8. Subs not used: Bond, McLaughlin, Langstaff.

Goals: Newton (2), Kempster

Yellow cards: Newton

Star man: Sean Newton. Once again part of a solid back three, a driving force from the back and netted two good free kicks.

Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis