SUBSTITUTE Dylan Parker grabbed the winner to seal FC Stratford’s third victory in three matches but it proved to be a hard-fought encounter to defeat Castle Vale Town 2-1.
After two goal-hungry performances in the league, scoring 11 times, FCS needed to persevere to get the victory at Vale Stadium in the first round of the Midland League Challenge Vase on Saturday.
Ben Hill, skipping past two defenders to finish, gave Stratford the lead at half-time but Castle Vale levelled from a penalty.
Stratford were stuttering but they managed to get the win when good work in the final third led to Parker firing past the keeper.
Alfie Bloomer notched his first goal for Alcester Town to set up their 3-2 win at Leamington Hibernian in Midland League Division Three.
Goals from Bloomer, Jimmy Ward and Ellis Kalach put the Red and Blacks in control at 3-0.
But Hibs roared back with two goals to leave Alcester anxiously waiting for the final whistle.
Shipston Excelsior’s hopes in the Les James Challenge Cup ended at the first hurdle after a 4-1 defeat at Barnt Green Spartak.
Shipston had been level at half-time at the Coppice, with youngster Owen Clarke netting for the second time in a week when he cancelled out Dom Strevens’ 22nd-minute opener within two minutes.
The next goal was always going to give the scorers the impetus and it came from Barnt Green’s Josh Wilson four minutes into the second half.
Strevens made it 3-1 on the hour mark before Cameron Jones added the hosts’ fourth on 66 minutes.
In Midland League Division One, Studley remain top of the table after Andy Nicol’s late goal proved enough to defeat Heath Hayes at the Beehive.
The striker pounced five minutes from time to keep Keith Draper’s side one point ahead of Walsall Wood, but having played two games more.
Racing Club Warwick’s positive start to the season was dented when they lost 3-0 at home to Heather St John’s.
The Racers had a mountain to climb after conceding twice before 24 minutes had passed, with Simeon Colbourne netting both goals.
Jack Cook then made it 3-0 eight minutes into the second period.