The Blues grab a point at Church & move up to 3rd!
By Andy Chilton
Goals from Chris Cox & Jimmy Fry see Town finish our 6 game series vs Church with a draw after a storming 2nd half rally
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Photographs by GRANTY, Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS
Alvechurch v Stratford Town Tuesday 22 January, 2019 7.45 pm
EvoStik Premier Division Central
Alvechurch 2 Stratford 2
* If this was a play on the stage…..
This mini-box set of 6 footballing dramas has now concluded and, perplexingly, we’re none the wiser! The denouement came as late as the 83rd minute when captain Jimmy Fry coolly slotted the home the equaliser in this fascinating, hard-fought and well-managed game. So, played 2, won 2, drew 2, lost 2 with a 10-7 goal advantage to Town.
This result left Stratford 3rd in the league with a play-off position now looking a strong possibility. It was a bitterly cold evening and there were flakes of snow to greet players and the sparse crowd alike. For the first time this season the Stratford eleven was unchanged. The indisposed Will Grocott did not make the bench.
On a greasy, heavy surface it was Stratford who was first to threaten on 3 minutes. Wilson Carvalho skipped around Josh Ezewhele and delivered a flashing low cross across the 6 yards box that eluded everyone. Lewis Wilson came closest to converting at the far post. As the game settled it was Alvechurch who marginally edged possession and threat with Chilton, Ezwhele and Tom Turley catching the eye. The passing from the back was impressive and this left the Town mid-field struggling to get a grip on the game and striker, Nabil Shariff, cut a lonely figure up front.
Alvechurch was close to taking the lead on 12 minutes when a Mitch Botfield shot diverted onto the post and Ross Etheridge was quick to respond to smother a follow-up chance. Town’s first shot didn’t arrive until 28 minutes. Isaac won a free kick just outside the area. Carvalho’s fierce drive was beaten away by keeper, Dan Crane, striking the shin of the on-rushing Shariff only to roll wide of the Alvechurch goal. Alvechurch continued to have the better of things and took the lead on 40 minutes. Isaac conceded a foul central, on the edge of the Town area and Rahis Nabi scored empatically with a low drive to the bottom left hand corner of Etheridge’s goal.
Playing with the slope in the second half Town was first into their stride. Albi Skendi was seeing more of the ball and began to threaten the ‘Church’ back line. Town might have been level on 47 minutes when Carvalho found Lewis Wilson just 6 yards out. A hasty shot from Wilson flew over the bar. It took until 66 minutes for before Town could level. Town earned a free kick at distance on the right. Ross Oulton delivered the cross and from out of a crowd of players Chris Cox rose highest to glance home.
With Isaac and Cox now getting forward to press ‘Church’ back it was a surprise when the home side was back in front on 72. “Church’ pressed on the right and a precision cross found Lee Chilton unmarked at the far post and he made no mistake.
Town’s response was to bring on Cody Fisher at left wing back and push Isaac further forward to support Shariff. Oulton made way and Carvalho was also replaced by Barcelos. Town now began to dominate with Isaac pressurising the Alvechurch back line. And so it was that James Fry levelled on 83 minute following good work by Man of the Match, Kynan Isaac.
Town fashioned 2 more chances in stoppage time with Chris Cox heading narrowly over from a free kick and Shariff having a low drive turned away for a corner. This has been an impressive few weeks for Manager, Thomas Baillie, and this fit, hard working and well-knit Town unit. There are now two successive Tuesdays to recuperate and plan the final stages of this impressive campaign.
A word of praise for the officials and, in particular, Scott Tallis for their handling of the game. We barely noticed them which is always a good sign!
* If this was a play on the stage now, I would condemn it as an improbable fiction. Twelfth Night Act 3 Scene 4
Man of the Match: Kynan Isaac
Saturday 26 January 3.00 pm Redditch (A) EvoStik PDC
Next Home game Saturday 02 February 3.00pm St Ives (H) EvoStik PDC
Lets get our ground full and buzzing as befitting a team in 3rd place!