Stratford Town 2
Report by Rod Abrahams
SUMMER signing George Washbourne grabbed his first goal in a Stratford Town shirt as they secured a second win in their build-up to the new season on Tuesday night.
Washbourne’s strike and an own goal put Town 2-0 ahead after 15 minutes at Lye Meadow and though Carl Adams’ men could not added further goals they had more than enough, despite a raft of second-half changes, to take the victory.
Alvechurch will be playing in the Evo Stik NPL South, next season, after being promoted from the Midland League Premier Division and it was a fairly evenly contested game.
Stratford, however, were soon ahead. A James Fry bullet header from a Will Grocott corner looked goal bound but it hit a defender and was cleared, but the opening goal came on seven minutes later, when a Jaz Luckie pass put Washbourne clear, and he cooled slotted it past advancing keeper Lewis Gwilliams.
Stratford got their somewhat fortunate second goal on 15 minutes. Following persistent work by striker Mike Taylor who held off several defenders to get to the by line, he squared the ball across the goal, and it was turned into his own net by Church defender Ash Carter. In between their two goals, a looping shot from James Hancocks hit the home side’s bar and went to safety.
Both sides were creating chances. For Alvechurch Josh Marsh twice went close, but missed the target from good positions, and in the 25th minute, Dan Dubidat smashed the loose ball over the bar from 15 yards when Town failed to clear a free kick.
Stratford responded with Taylor heading wide from a Grocott free-kick, but should have scored.
With both sides making several substitutions at half-time the game was still played at a fast pace.
Stratford’s best chance of the half came in the 69th minute, when Edwin Ahenkorah broke down the left, his cross was met by Ben Stephens but from five yard out headed over. Stephens also had a couple of good shots but were comfortable saves for Gwilliams.
The home side had their chances too. Dubidat headed wide from a free kick, Luke Yates fired a shot wide and a stinging strike from Jamie Roberts was only parried by Town stopper Louis Connor, on the hour mark.
Marsh who had the last chance in the last minute when his well struck overhead kick from the edge of the box went straight at Connor.
Town’s next game is at the MoodChimp Stadium on Saturday, against National League side Solihull Moors.
Stratford Town: Connor, Evans, Hancocks, Gallinagh, Recci, Francis, Washbourne, Fry, Taylor, Grocott, Luckie. Subs Stephens, Bako, Thomas, Ahenkorah, Marsden, Florin.