Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Photos by GRANTY & WOODY
Stratford Town 2 Alvechurch 0 (HT 1-0)
Tuesday 17 September 2019 7.45 pm
BetVictor Southern League Premier Division Central at the Arden Garages Stadium
• News of success…..
With 7 fixtures completed Town and Church came into this fixture with identical playing records of W2, D2, L3 and both feeling there was something to prove. On the night it was the Stratford boys, showing more desire, who prevailed with the home side looking up (10th) and Darren Byfield’s, charges nervously looking below.
With Liam Hughes suspended Tom Fishwick returned in defence and Luke Rowe and Joe Curtis made their home debuts. Town kicked off towards the golf course end and captain Ross Oulton set about driving at the heart of the Alvechurch back line. From the resulting corner Wilson set up Curtis whose fierce drive was tipped onto the bar by keeper Ransome. In the resulting scramble it was Curtis who reacted first to prod home from close range with just 90 seconds on the clock.
The game was being played at a helter skelter pace with Revan causing problems on the right but it was Church who nearly levelled on 7 minutes. Elliot Taylor was forced into a hasty clearance which failed to make touch. A huge cross shot sailed over the keeper only for Javia Roberts to scoop his shot over the bar with the goal gaping. This was to be Alvechurch’s best chance.
There were to be further chances for Town through Shariff (twice) and Linden Dovey and his driving run and cross shot deceived everyone. As the half time whistle blew the home crowd were clearly in a good mood.
The open game continued in the second half and it was the tricky Javia Roberts whose shot from broken play (63 minutes) that had the Town defence scrambling as the ball struck the outside of the post. Church was to rue this this disappointment as the game was sewn up for Stratford 5 minutes later. Revan won a corner on the right. Curtis’s pinpoint cross was expertly headed home by Shariff.
Town’s game management from this point was excellent. Lawton replaced Revan and the home side were never in trouble again. Indeed, on 84 minutes it should have been three. An extended phase of passing saw Wilson find Shariff who, in turn, played in Curtis. His fierce drive from close range was saved courageously by Lloyd Ransome.
This was a much-improved performance by the Town boys being full of pace and invention. The 2-0 score line was a fair reflection of that effort. Town boss, Tommy Wright described it as, ‘a good footballing display – the best of the season!’
• News of success (paraphrased as Ross tells Macbeth of success in battle).
Marstons Man of the Match: Ross Oulton
Saturday 21 September Halesowen (A) 3.00pm 2nd Qualifying Round FA Cup
Saturday 28 September Hitchin (A) 3.00pm BetVictorSLPDC