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Stratford Town continue perfect start with thumping victory in FA Youth Cup

Harry Hartin struck Town's fourth in a 4-1 win over Alvechurch.
Harry Hartin struck Town's fourth in a 4-1 win over Alvechurch.

STRATFORD Town Youth maintained their 100 per cent record this season with a 4-1 win over Alvechurch in their FA Youth Cup preliminary round tie at Lye Meadow on Wednesday evening, writes Bryan Hale.

Yet it was the Church who were quickest into their stride and stunned Town by opening the scoring in just the fifth minute, as Cameron Purchase headed in from a corner with Town hardly having had a kick up to then.

But Town soon began to get into the game and equalised on 12 minutes when Ross Quartermaine’s right wing corner caused mayhem in the Church six-yard box and Michael O’Regan pounced to smash the loose ball into the roof of the net.

And from then on Town looked the sharper side with James Pomeroy catching the eye with some threatening runs down the left and Jack Ballinger troubling the Church defence with his persistence up front.

Ballinger had a shot on the turn comfortably held by Church keeper Tom Walker who then needed two attempts to deal with a Quartermaine free-kick before Town went ahead on the half-hour mark.

Caine Elliott’s well-struck effort from 20 yards out ricocheted off a Church defender and fell kindly to Ballinger some 12 yards out, who wasted no time in thumping it past the helpless Walker with Town Youth secretary Alan Hawkins later reporting that this was the 100th goal scored by Town in their FA Youth Cup history.

Soon after, O’Regan couldn’t continue after falling awkwardly and was replaced by Tommy Rowe as the Church tried to respond with Town keeper Ryan Woodward saving well from Delayni Woodcock shortly before the break.

But with the advantage of kicking down the Lye Meadow slope in the second half, Town were soon taking total charge and they went 3-1 up in the 55th minute when Rowe’s deep cross from the right touchline picked out Bradley West, whose header into the bottom corner gave Walker no chance.

From then on, Town could have added two or three more with Elliott incredibly unlucky with a thunderous drive which came back off the underside of the bar, but a combination of some desperate Church defending and wayward Town finishing meant that Darren Timms’ side still couldn’t completely kill the game off.

The Church rallied in the last ten or so minutes, but Town survived without any really serious alarms and finally wrapped it all up in the second of three added minutes at the end when West broke clear down the left and slipped the ball inside to provide Harry Hartin with a simple finish from eight yards out.

So Town now progress to the first qualifying round where they have a home tie against Haughmond.

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