Attack minded Town take down the Church in League cup tie
By Andy Chilton
Town now unbeaten in last 6 games as the Blues get on a roll!
Match Report by Kevin Hand, Photos by Granty
Alvechurch FC v Stratford Town Tuesday 16 October, 2018 7.45pm at Lye Meadow. City Security Services League Challenge Cup Round 1.
Alvechurch 2 Stratford 4 (HT 2-3)
A goal feast for the neutral, and a performance oozing in class and intent from the “Boys in Blue’, had the away fans purring with pleasure and the genial Lye Meadow crowd hanging their heads in disbelief as Stratford ran out convincing winners in this 1st Round Tie.
The gaffer made 3 changes from Saturday with Grocoott, Fry and Isaac coming in for Skendi, Taty and Carvalho. Skendi and Carvalho were part of an impressive looking bench. Town were looking for revenge for a 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup back in September knowing they had to meet their opponents three more times in the coming weeks. FA Trophy at the end of the month and league games in November and January 2019.
Both sides found it difficult to keep hold of the ball in the opening minutes but it was Alvechurch who were first to threaten. Town conceded a free kick on 8 minutes some 25 yards out. Aaron Lloyd’s powerful shot was gathered at second attempt by Richard Walton. Almost immediately Town was up the other end and Lewis Wilson pounced with power and pace to drive a firm shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net leaving keeper, Paul Evans, stranded.
For the next 15 minutes Town dominated. Grocott was influential all over the park, Oulton and Fry firm in midfield and Taylor constantly stretching the Alvechurch defence. It was a surprise when Alvechurch equalized on 23 minutes having shown little to this point. The Town defence wasn’t tight enough allowing Ben Cassidy to turn and fire past Walton. Nine minutes later and Alvechurch was in front when they repeated the feat this time through Mitch Botfield.
For the next few minutes Town was on the back foot rocked by this turn of events. But they were quickly back in front on 41 and 42 minutes as they turned up pace. Taylor and Isaac combined to set up Grocott whose shot was turned aside for a corner by Paul Evans. An excellent Grocott delivery caused panic in the Alvechurch defence before Taylor forced the ball home. Barely time to catch breath and one minute later and Grocott found the ball at his feet just inside the Alvechurch half. Looking up he spotted Paul Evans of his line and arced a wonderful shot with unerring accuracy into the unattended Alvechurch net. 3-2 to Stratford and surely more goals to come!
If any thing the game was even more open in the second half than the first with Stratford dominating throughout. Only the outstanding Paul Evans denied Town a much bigger score against a game Alvechurch outfit with the young Ben Stokes also putting in an encouraging shift.
There were outstanding performances for Town in every department. Cox in imperious form on the right; McAteer, Williams and Westwood now completely dominant; Oulton and Grocott running midfield; and Isaac and Wilson, and later Carvalho, running the hosts ragged with their pace and direct style of play. Isaac was particularly unfortunate not to open his account for the team. Having been denied by Evans in the first half it seemed certain redemption was near when he broke on the left. His first drive was beaten back and equally crisp second shot dealt with similarly. The game was over by this point as on 76 minutes Westwood and Grocott combined spread-eagling the Alvechurch for a simple tap-in goal for Carvalho at the far post.
This was outstanding performance from Town and together with Saturday’s performance against Kings Lynn is further evidence of the team’s development and continued momentum.
Man of the Match: Will Grocott
Next up: Leiston (H) EvoStik Central Premier League 3.00pm