MAGUIRE PLAYS HERO AND VILLAIN
A sensational game at Harrison Park on Tuesday night saw Leek Town and Alvechurch share the points in a 3-3 draw.
That however only tells half the story as Blues lost a winning position by conceding three goals in the last ten minutes for the second time in a month.
Neil Baker made one change to the side that drew at Romulus with Niall Maguire replacing Jordan Johnson in the starting line-up and Maguire would go on to play a major role in the outcome.
Blues started well and were ahead after 10 minutes when Rob Stevenson collected the ball on the left, cut inside his man and fired past Lewis Gwilliams in the Alvechurch goal.
Leek continued to look the better bet and played at a good tempo throughout the half and they scored a deserved second five minutes before the break when Maguire steered a firm header from a Dan Trickett-Smith corner in at the near post.
Danny Roberts did well to tip over a screamer of an effort from Ash Carter right on half-time to preserve his side's two goal advantage.
Tim Grice and Maguire both had chances early in the second half, but the best opportunity fell to Stevenson on 58 minutes who played in by Trickett-Smith found himself through on goal but Gwilliams made the block and saved Grice's effort from the rebound.
A minute later the Blues goal had an incredible escape when Josh March thumped a 25 yard effort against the underside of the bar. The ball hit Danny Roberts on the back and rolled towards the goal but somehow Niall Green got back to block an Alvechurch attackers attempt to force the ball in and make a miraculous goal line clearance.
Roberts was called into action to make a couple of more saves before Sam Hall saw red for two fouls in the space of six minutes which the referee deemed were both bookable offences.
Blues had another incredible escape on 75 minutes when March hit another effort which Roberts could only stand and watch as it hit the inside of the post and run right along the goal line and out to safety.
Church were applying all the pressure now but amazingly Blues made it 3-0 when Grice and Stevenson broke away, exchanged passes before Grice slotted the ball home.
Alvechurch pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute when Carter fired in a quickly taken low free-kick.
That became 3-2 five minutes later when Yusifu Ceesay scored from close range, but worse followed for Blues as in the ensuing melee, Maguire shoved an opposing player to the ground, given the ref no option but to show a red card.
Church sensed blood with Blues down to 9 men and the inevitable equaliser came two minutes into added time when Aaron Lloyd headed home from close range after a corner was taken short.
Even then there was time for the visitors to win it and they should have done when Josh March headed just wide with four minutes added time on the clock.
Team: Roberts, Lemon, Kearns (Lycett, 89), Grocott, Green, Chadwick, Johnson (Grimshaw, 79), Hall, Grice, Trickett-Smith (Whitehead, 70), Stevenson (Davies, 84)
Unused subs: Grimshaw, Johnson
Red Cards: Hall, Maguire