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Alvechurch leave it late to edge out Stratford Town

Lewis Wilson in action for Stratford in the 1-0 defeat to Alvechurch. Photo: Mark Williamson.
Lewis Wilson in action for Stratford in the 1-0 defeat to Alvechurch. Photo: Mark Williamson.


Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central Stratford Town 0-1 Alvechurch

Report by Craig Gibbons

JOSH MARCH struck deep into injury time to give Alvechurch a narrow 1-0 victory over Stratford Town at the Arden Garages Stadium.

With the game heading for draw, second-half substitute March fired in the winner in the third of four minutes of stoppage time to ensure Ian Long's Church brought an end to their three-game losing run, whilst Town have now gone 294 minutes without scoring.

Town boss Thomas Baillie made just one change to the starting XI which drew 0-0 with Biggleswade Town on New Year's Day, with the ill Wilson Carvalho replaced by Leicester City product Kian Williams.

Kieran Westwood and Dan Summerfield also made the bench in place of Shawn Richards and Jarrell Hylton respectively.

And the 246-strong crowd were not exactly treated to a spectacle, with chances coming few and far between.

Town's best chance of the opening half came in the tenth minute when Church keeper Dan Crane managed to stick out a trailing leg to deny Lewis Wilson's effort after good build-up from the hosts.

For the visitors, the much-travelled Lee Chilton was seeing plenty of the ball and fired over a powerful effort five minutes later.

Chilton was then left scratching his head after Andre Landell failed to get on the end of his dangerously low cross from the left-hand side just past the half-hour mark.

The sound of the half-time whistle was certainly music to the ears of the Town faithful, who were not exactly forthcoming with the request to clap the players off at the break.

Much was expected for the second period but it was exactly the same as the first as chances came at a premium.

Action from Stratford's 1-0 defeat to Alvechurch. Photo: Mark Williamson
Action from Stratford's 1-0 defeat to Alvechurch.                                                             Photo: Mark Williamson

While the offside flag saved Shariff's blushes after he missed a golden one-on-one opportunity in the 62nd minute, the Town striker almost broke the deadlock eight minutes later but he could only curl just wide after neatly turning his marker in the penalty area.

There was a good opportunity for Landell to put the visitors ahead in the 81st minute but he volleyed just wide, although Town keeper Matija Sarkic looked as though he had the shot covered if it had been on target.

Chilton then had the chance to win it for Church just as the game entered stoppage time but after cutting inside onto his stronger left foot, he curled his effort just over the bar.

However, just moments later Church did snatch the three points when March fired in from close range after latching on to Josh Ezewele's low cross.

STRATFORD: Matija Sarkic (GK), Kynan Isaac, Cody Fisher (Claudio Dias 67), James Fry (Dan Preston 79) (C), Jamie McAteer, Jordan Williams, Kian Williams, Ross Outlon, Nabil Shariff, Will Grocott and Lewis Wilson. Subs: Ross Etheridge, Kieron Westwood, Dan Summerfield.

ALVECHURCH: Dan Crane (GK), Josh Ezewele, Zach Foster, Tom Turton, Kyle Morrison, Ash Carter (C), Dave Bellis, Mitch Botfield (Josh March 73), Aaron Lloyd, Andre Landell (Taylor Morrison 81), Lee Chilton (Rahis Nabi 90+4). Subs: Kieran Cook, Taylor Morrison, Paul Evans.

For reaction and the full report, read Thursday's Herald.

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