Birmingham Vase, Semi-finals
Alcester Town 1-3 Enville Athletic
Report by Craig Gibbons
ALCESTER Town’s hopes of ending the season with cup silverware came to a frustrating end after suffering a 3-1 defeat at home to Enville Athletic in the semi-finals of the Birmingham Vase.
The Red and Blacks got off to a good start in the all Midland League Division Three affair, with Lewis Cosgrove giving the hosts the lead after 14 minutes.
Despite their good start and dominating much of the first half, Town were pegged back on the cusp of half-time when Rhys Morgan slotted home from close range.
Sam Oakley then put the visitors ahead just a few minutes into the second period before Morgan bagged his second direct from a corner in the 83rd minute to settle the affair.
While promotion was the main aim for Town, securing a place in a cup final was going to be an added bonus and when Cosgrove nodded in from Callum Burston-Keeley’s corner, it looked as though Matt Seeley’s and Richard Briggs’ men were on their way.
Playing with the wind behind them, the Red and Blacks continued to push, but were wasteful in front of goal, with Daniel Carter glancing an effort wide of the near post from a low driven free-kick before Luke Dugmore volleyed just over with 23 minutes on the clock.
Despite being on the back foot for the majority of the first half, Athletic had the wind in their sails when Morgan fired in the equaliser two minutes before the break.
And two minutes after the interval Athletic had turned the game on its head when Oakley was on hand to prod home from close range after Town keeper Luis Sone failed to keep two hands on the initial shot in the build-up to the goal.
Playing the tough conditions much better than their hosts, only the woodwork prevented the visitors from extending their advantage just past the hour mark as Connor Rich’s dipping effort from 20 yards out clipped the top of the crossbar.
Try as they might the Red and Blacks just could not settle into a rhythm, and any hopes of forcing a penalty shoot-out were ended just seven minutes from time when Morgan’s wind-assisted in-swinging corner flew into the back of the net at the far post.
Town thought they had reduced the arrears almost immediately when substitute Ollie Gibson got ahead of Athletic keeper Rheece Dawes to slam home from close range, but his celebrations were cut short when the assistant referee signalled for an offside infringement.
Rich should have bagged Athletic’s fourth in the eighth minute of stoppage time when he raced through on goal, but his near post effort was well-saved by Sone.