Malley at the double as Romans down FC Stratford

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Wade Malley (right) scored twice in the victory over FC Stratford. Photo: Mark Williamson F35/8/19/8473

FOOTBALL

Midland League, Division Two
FC Stratford 0
Alcester Town 3 (Malley 12 18 (pen), Brown 35)
Report by Craig Gibbons

ALCESTER Town continued their perfect start to life in Midland League Division Two with a comfortable 3-0 victory over FC Stratford on Tuesday night.

In-form striker Wade Malley bagged two goals in the space of six first-half minutes to take his tally to four for the season, with Jake Brown completing the evening’s scoring at the Arden Garages Stadium ten minutes before the break.

FC Stratford enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the second period, but could not find a way through a solid Romans defence as Dave Poulson’s men slumped to their second consecutive defeat while Alcester moved up to third in the league standings.

The Romans had plenty of the early possession, but goalkeeper Conal Dowling had to be at his best in just the fifth minute to deny Stratford forward Tom Daccus from heading in from point-blank range after connecting with Dylan Parker’s inch-perfect cross.

Daccus was then guilty of missing another gilt-edged chance just five minutes later, firing wide from a couple of yards out after getting on the end of a superb cross from Freddy Murphy on the right-hand side.

Those missed chances came back to haunt the hosts immediately up the other end as a brilliant solo run by Malley allowed the former Racing Club Warwick frontman to surge into the area before firing home into the far corner.

In a truly end-to-end first 15 minutes, Dowling was again forced into action just moments later to preserve Alcester’s lead, this time denying Dylan Parker from inside the area.

With barely 20 minutes on the clock, the Romans were awarded a penalty after Stratford keeper Luis Sone brought down Malley just inside the area, and the striker duly obliged from 12 yards out to make it 2-0.

As the game wore on the tempo dropped, but a ruthless Alcester stretched their lead even further ten minutes before the break.

Malley led a fantastic breakaway down the left wing, brushing past Sacha Everard with such ease before crossing to Brown who was primed and ready from right underneath the crossbar to make it 3-0 and put the irresistible Romans well and truly out of sight.

The visitors continued to go for the jugular and perhaps should have been further ahead by the time the half-time whistle came to Stratford’s rescue.

The break must have been exactly what Stratford needed as they came out a rejuvenated outfit for the second half and came close to pulling a goal back within five minutes of the restart, with Dean Poulson forcing a smart save from Dowling at his near post.

Stratford continued to dominate the second period but they almost fell 4-0 behind with 14 minutes to go when Karl King’s volley from Alex Price’s corner cannoned off the outside of the post.

Murphy then came close to scoring what would have been the goal of the night in the first minute of injury time after waltzing through several Alcester challenges to surge into the box, but his touch let him down at the vital moment and out rushed Dowling to claim the loose ball.