Under-strength Alcester Town fall to defeat at AFC Coventry Rangers
AFC Coventry Rangers 3-1 Alcester Town
Midland League, Division Two
DEPLETED Alcester Town missed out on securing a league double over AFC Coventry Rangers as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Mitchell Avenue.
Joe Gardner and Fola Fagbemi scored either side of half-time to put Rangers in control against a much-changed Romans outfit.
However, Aaron Blackwood’s men were offered a route back into the match just before the hour mark when debutant Tristan Roberts headed in from James Ward’s in-swinging free-kick.
The Romans battled on but 13 minutes from time the hosts sealed the three points when Curtis Cutts nodded home from Gardner’s corner.
Defeat for Alcester means they are now winless in their last three Midland League Division Two outings and have dropped to seventh in the table.
The Romans came into the game looking to secure a league double over their opponents having beaten them 4-1 earlier in the campaign in what was Coventry’s only defeat so far.
But with several first-teamers missing from the starting XI for various reasons, including the dangerous forward trio of Liam Fullerton, Odane Barnes and Ricardo Richards, it meant Blackwood’s men were going to be in for a tough afternoon.
Both sides traded blows in the early stages but as the half wore on Alcester were guilty of giving possession away cheaply too many times, which allowed Rangers to constantly put pressure on the away side’s defence.
However, it looked as though the Romans might just get to the break on level terms but in the 36th minute Rangers nosed themselves ahead. Jaydeep Vim’s throughball played in Gardner down the right and he cut inside before arrowing a low drive into the bottom corner.
The goal was a sucker-punch for the Romans who were then dealt another big blow just two minutes into the second period when Ryan Alexander was fouled inside the area.
The referee pointed to the spot and Fagbemi made no mistake from 12 yards out, calmly slotting down the middle of Tom Walker’s goal to make it 2-0.
Back came the Romans and Jake Wicketts almost caught out Jack Hartopp with a lobbed effort but the Rangers goalkeeper managed to get back quickly enough to keep the ball out.
Five minutes later, though, the visitors halved the deficit. Ward delivered an inch-perfect delivery from the left-hand side and an unmarked Roberts ghosted between the Rangers defence to head home a lifeline.
Blackwood’s men continued to plug away in search of an equaliser but in the 77th minute Rangers scored their third to kill the game off. Walker flapped at Gardner’s corner and Cutts was there to pick up the pieces by sending a lopping header into the far corner.
Alcester then came close to pulling a goal back in the 85th minute but Ward saw his low drive spilled by Hartopp and then the rebound from Jake Cole somehow stayed out.
AFC COVENTRY RANGERS: Jack Hartopp, Jaydeep Vim, Toby Curran, Callum Regan, Phil Chesters, Curtis Cutts, Joe Gardner, Ryan Alexander, Jarrell Hylton (Connoll Farrell 82), Jordan Powell, Fola Fagbemi (Rory Turnbull 77). Unused subs: Ashton Honeygram, Liam Doyle, James Chappell.
ALCESTER TOWN: Tom Walker, Luke Williams (Owen Fisher 48), Aaron Xavier, Max Tibbins (Henry Gibson 58), Tristan Roberts, Brad Hendry. Rhys Forbes, Connor Perry-Holmes, James Ward, Jake Wicketts, Jack Cole. Unused subs: Kieran Fitzgerald, Liam Clee, Ryan Faulkner.