ALVECHURCH manager Ian Long insists his players still have plenty to play for despite finally having to admit defeat in their title chase.
Hereford clinched the Midland League Premier Division crown on Monday night with a 4-0 defeat of Coventry Sphinx, as the Churchmen guaranteed runners-up spot with a 3-2 win at Sporting Khalsa.
Long admitted the Bulls had been the favourites since beating Church a few weeks ago and he saluted the new champions for their achievement in the phoenix club’s first season.
However, he stressed Alvechurch want to set a record by passing 100 points and the challenge continues tonight (Thursday) when they meet Long Eaton at Lye Meadow.
“We pretty much knew it was Hereford’s title and well done to them,” said Long. “They’ve had a great season but our season isn’t over.
“We’ve still got four league games to play and we can reach 104 points, which would be an amazing achievement.
“We’ve still got our fingers crossed that we still might get the opportunity to get promotion.
“Then we’ve got still the JW Hunt Cup – we’re only at the quarter-finals stage – and a possible final at Molineux which would be a special way to end the season.”
Alvechurch, who recently won the Worcestershire Senior Urn, expect to have striker Jordan Nadat available after an ankle injury for tonight’s match with Long Eaton, but playmaker Leigh Downing (ankle) is still struggling while Ryan Winwood’s season is over after he dislocated his shoulder.
Josh March is back fit, scoring twice in a man of the match show against Khalsa, before Sam Williams bagged the winner.
March volleyed home the opener on 19 minutes from Nick Wright’s pass and doubled the advantage on the stroke of half time after more good work by Wright.
Sporting hit back to level with goals from Josh McKenzie and David Meese from a penalty but substiture Williams bagged the winner at the near post from Wright’s right-wing break and cross.
After last weekend’s postponement when opponents Bardon Hill could not field a team, Alvechurch still have three league fixtures to play after tonight.
On Saturday they head to Coleshill Town and then tackle Khalsa at Lye Meadow on Tuesday before the rescheduled match at home to Bardon Hill.
Coalville-based Bardon Hill officially apologised for having to call off the game after saying they only had seven players available.
They will have to explain why they could not fulfil the fixture at a league hearing and will face a fine if found guilty, but league officials said they will not face a points deduction, nor will Alvechurch be awarded the points.