Alvechurch F.C. - Report
'Church call in for a swift point
Alvechurch got themselves off the mark at the second time of asking after a battling point against newly relegated Stourport Swifts.
ALVECHURCH: Taylor, Janes, Cameron, Morris, Humphries, Curry (Poulson 83), Nash, McGrath, Woolman (Wright 70), Nicol, Dugmore
Unused subs: Hooper, Carter, Judd
STOURPORT SWIFTS: Whitcombe, Jones, Willetts, Pearce, Benbow, Walker, Evans (Dinsley 63), Hurrell (Adams 83), Pountney, Curtis, Jackson
Unused subs: Lavery, Taylor, Bannister
Alvechurch secured their first points of the 2012/13 season with a battling display against newly relegated Stourport Swifts.
Neither side managed many clear chances in a close first half, although the visitors probably shaded at that stage with more effective possession. The first half statistics of a total of eight attempts on goal, of which only one was on target told the story.
The first chance fell to the home side when a Daley Cameron cross from the left glanced off the top of the head of a defender into the path of Andy Nicol, who fired his volley over. And 17 minutes has elapsed before the visitors threatened the home goal – Evans, on the break down the left turned Janes inside out before firing a low shot across the face of Richard Taylor’s goal and just wide of the foot of the far post.
On 21, Elliot Nash intercepted a pass near the centre circle, and taking the ball on, fed Luke Dugmore for a shot on goal that again missed the target.
The best chance came on 25 when a quickly taken Stourport free kick found Lewis Pountney unmarked 10 yards out, but his glancing header again fell short of the mark, going to safety a foot wide of the post.
The only save of the half came on the half hour mark when Tim Jackson latched onto a ball across the face of the box to unleash a snap shot that Taylor beat away with a smart dive to his right.
Alvechurch 0 Stourport Swifts 0
The second half was much more lively, with both sides managing to find their range and work the opposing goalkeeper with more alacrity.
Michael Woolman powered through on 46, having one goal bound effort blocked before screwing the second wide, whilst at the other end a curling shot by Jackson was palmed behind by Taylor.
But the stalemate was broken on 52 minutes with a sweeping attacking move by Stourport. The ball was fed out to the left to the dangerous Jackson, and his well executed ball into the box was met by Rory Curtis on the penalty spot who deftly planted the ball past the unprotected Taylor.
‘Church were at this stage finding it difficult to impose themselves as the visitors harried the home side whenever they were in possession, but a little indiscipline at the back began to count against Stourport, allowing ‘Church to build a momentum that eventually led to the equaliser. A needless free kick allowed Michael McGrath to provide a clever ball into the box for George Curry to threaten, forcing ‘keeper Whitcombe to claw the ball away from under his bar.
There followed a period of more dominance for the home side that culminated in an opportunistic effort from Andy Nicol - his second goal in as many games. A long ball down the centre, not dealt with by the Stourport central defenders, and the ‘Church striker pounced to deliver a stunning 25 yard effort that looped over Whitcombe into the back of the Stourport net.
The two sides traded chances in the final quarter of the game, but it was ‘Church who probably finished the game in the ascendancy. Nicol chased down a through ball on 74, and Whitcombe was relieved when his clearance ricocheted off the ‘Church striker and just wide of the post of the goal. And then on 84, Luke Dugmore threatened after shrugging off two challenges before firing of a rasping shot that Whitcombe did well to gather low down to his right.
Alvechurch almost stole all three points in stoppage time when Whitcombe was called into action again to deny Nicol with a fine one-handed save after substitute Joe Wright had carved out another opening, but an the balance of the whole game, a share of the points was probably the correct outcome.