Buoyant Blues Blast the Church out of the FA Trophy
By Andy Chilton
Town comprehensively defeat Alvechurch with a devastating first half goal blitz
Match Report by Bradley Rice, Match Stats Rod Abrahams, Photographs by Granty
Stratford Town 3 – 0 Alvechurch (HT 3-0)
FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round Replay
The match should have been tricky, but three goals before half time, put this tie to bed. Rather apt for this time of year, Stratford and Mike Taylor delivered the heebie jeebies to Alvechurch last night.
Despite the bitterly cold conditions, the match drew in a respectable crowd and it wasn’t long before they were rewarded as Stratford’s first meaningful attack led to the opening goal.
A quick exchange down the right, resulted in Lewis Wilson venturing into the box. As he made his way to the by-line, he was clipped by the defender. Although the contact was minimal, it was a foul and the referee had no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Carvalho, who made no mistake and dispatched it, into the bottom corner and it was 1-0 to the Blues.
From there, Town kicked on dominating proceedings and they had skill and steel in equal measure whilst Alvechurch fought valiantly, but offered little in the final third.
As for Town, they carried much more of a threat. Will Grocott was gaining joy in between the lines and was linking well with Taylor and it wasn’t long before the big man was on the score sheet.
After being thwarted twice by Alvechurch’s keeper, it was third time lucky. From a first time cross, he powered a bullet of a header into the roof of the net Town were 2-0 up and well and truly in the driving seat.
As for the travelling support, there was little to get excited about. In fact, the only cheer mustered, came after a fan dropped his pint in plain view of everyone the poor lad was left feeling blue but soon, so were Alvechurch.
They were dealt the killer blow, just before the interval. After collecting the ball in the middle of the park, Albi Skendi bulldozed his way through the heart of the defence. His goal bound shot was poked home, by who else, Mikey Taylor for his match brace and 10 for the season in what is a vintage year for "The Beast". Albi’s attempt looked on target but as with any good striker, Taylor was on hand to make sure it went over the line, so 3-0 at the break and a long way back for Alvechurch.
Ian Long the Alvechurch manager attempted to shuffle his pack, making two changes at half-time but the damage was done. The second half petered out however Stratford almost added a fourth when Grocott's cross was met by Cox however the right backs header was cleared off the line. Apart from that Town's game management was spot on and with the stuffing knocked out of the visiting side their was little threat from the Church.
As the tie drew to a close, the temperature plummeted and fans awaited the final whistle the contest well and truly over and Town reflected on a throughly clinical and professional performance that have the Blues marching through the next round which will see them host Northern Premier league side Mickleover Sports from Derby the tie to be played on Saturday November 10th 3pm KO at the Arden Garages Stadium
A delighted Town boss Baillie afterwards commented "We looked strong throughout, and were worthy winners.I’m obviously very pleased with the result and our first half performance was exceptional, Alvechurch just couldn't cope with us and we could easily have scored more.
It was a complete contrast to Saturday’s game our pitch made a big difference as it suits our style of play and we were able to get the ball down and play our quick moving and passing game which we found it difficult to do over there.We had worked them out from how they played on Saturday, and in the second half we concentrated on managing the game and not letting them have any opportunity to get back into it, and I felt that we did that very well."
STRATFORD : Richard Walton,, Chris Cox, Kieren Westwood, Ross Oulton (Claudio Dias 61), Jordan Williams, Jamie McAteer (c), Lewis Wilson, Albi Skendi, Mike Taylor (Kynan Isaac 71), Will Grocott (Amos Kabeya 71), Wilson Carvalho. Unused Subs – Cody Fisher & James Behan (GK)
ALVECHURCH : Charlie Price, Josh Ezewele, Zack Foster (Taylor Morrison 75),, Tom Turton (Theo Llewellyn 46), Kyle Morrison, Jamie Willetts ( c), Dave Bellis, Danny O’Callaghan (Kieran Cook 46), Josh March, Yusifo Ceesay, Andre Landell Unused Subs – Mark Smith & Paul Evans (GK)
Referee – Richard Eley
Assistant Referees – Philip Carey & Dominic Chambers
Attendance – 152
Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
| Stratford|| Alvechurch |
| 10||Goal Attempts|| 6|
| 7||On Target|| 2|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 0|
| 1||Corners Won|| 2|
| 7||Crosses into Box|| 7|
| 13||Fouls Conceded|| 18|
| 0||Off Side|| 2|
| 0||Yellow Cards|| 1|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – 0
Alvechurch Yellow Cards – Llewellyn