The Blues & the Church all square in cup Trilogy
By Andy Chilton
A Mike Taylor goal earns the Blues a replay as Town go unbeaten in 8 games
Match Report by Kevin Hand, Match photos by Granty, Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
Alvechurch v Stratford Town
Saturday 27 October, 2018 3.00pm at Lye Meadow.
FA Trophy – 1st Qualifying Round.
Alvechurch 1 Stratford 1 (HT 1-0))
• A cold coming we had of it…….
On a bitterly cold afternoon a trilogy of cup meetings between these Worcestershire and Warwickshire rivals was due to be concluded. The 1-1 score line means this mighty tome still has an additional chapter to be written.
With £3250 in prize money up for grabs both sides fielded strong elevens for two in-form teams. Town defending a 7 game unbeaten run fielded an unchanged side. The opening exchanges revealed little other than to remind everyone what a difficult pitch the Lye Meadow is. Heavy today, with its pronounced diagonal slope conditions were made all the more difficulty by the swirling northerly wind.
Making the best of the conditions Alvechurch were first to threaten on 6 minutes when Tom Turton’s corner from the right was met by Aaron Lloyd. His header was cleared with great difficulty by Richard Walton.
Skendi and Grocott probed in midfield,Taylor harassed up front and Westwood supported on the left as Town struggled to take control. In between Jimmy Fry was rock-solid in protecting the back four. This good play nearly led to a goal on 17 minutes when Lewis Wilson cut in from the left and saw his fine shot saved by Paul Evans.
This even contest tipped Alvechurch’s way on 26 minutes with a headed goal from Josh March. Tom Turton’s corners were to be a source of threat throughout the contest and it was his excellent delivery that gave the unmarked March to open the goal count.
After a brief spell of Alvechurch pressure Jimmy Fry made an important interception on 34 minutes setting Mike Taylor free. He was eventually crowded out before he could shoot. The half ended with a mid-field stale mate.
With many of the crowd reluctant to leave the bar the stands were noticeably emptier for the opening minutes of the second half. Many will have missed Will Grocott’s excellent corner on 49 minutes that saw Mikey Taylor score with the simplest of headers.
As the half wore on it seemed neither side had the wit or imagination to break the deadlock. Effort there was but the craft and guile on display could not deny the elements. From some 20 minutes out a replay at the Arden Garage Stadium always looked likely and so it proved. And Town stretched the unbeaten run to 8 games.
Thomas Baillie, Head of Football, was clearly pleased at the continued confidence his team displays and its battling ability to fight back from adversity. He gave a very clear hint that an additional striker was very close to joining Town’s ranks.
For Town Cox and Westwood impressed and continue to grow in stature from game to game.
But Man of the Match was Town's Captain fantastic Jimmy Fry who is the heartbeat of the Blues
• A cold coming we had of it…….T S Eliot…The Gift of the Magi
Tuesday 30 October Alvechurch replay at the Arden Garage Stadium 7.45pm
Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
| 7||Goal Attempts|| 9|
| 6||On Target|| 4|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 0|
| 3||Corners Won|| 8|
| 5||Crosses into Box|| 7|
| 15||Fouls Conceded|| 7|
| 2||Off Side|| 1|
| 1||Yellow Cards|| 1|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – Fry
Alvechurch Yellow Cards – O’Callaghan