September 24th, 2016

Church strive to hit 100-point mark in final league game

Church strive to hit 100-point mark in final league game Church strive to hit 100-point mark in final league game

ALVECHURCH will be driven by the target to reach 100 points when they sign off their league season tonight (Thursday).

The Churchmen, already guaranteed second place in the Midland League Premier Division, play their fourth game in eight days when they entertain Bardon Hill.

Manager Ian Long admits his squad has suffered a hangover after long-time rivals Hereford finally clinched the title but he wants to see a record-breaking finale to the season.

Victory over the Coalville visitors will take them to 101 points and they need three more goals to reach 100 for the season.

Promotion remains the goal and Alvechurch hope such statistics will enhance their claims to be elevated when the FA discusses non-league’s compilations for next season.

“We don’t want to let the season fizzle out,” said Long. “We’ve still got targets – we want to get past 100 points. That would be some achievement and hopefully that would make the FA really take notice. We hope our record would stand out like a sore thumb from any other candidates.

“We are desperate to go up. Everybody at this football club wants to go to the next level and we believe we’re ready.”

After the shock of losing 2-0 at Coleshill Town on their artificial pitch on Saturday, a Josh March goal accounted for Sporting Khalsa in a 1-0 home win for the Churchmen on Tuesday night.

“We were back to be something like our usual selves,” said Long.

“We were poor against Long Eaton last Thursday and then against Coleshill. We managed to get the win against Long Eaton but we got what we deserved on Saturday and that was nothing.”

It was a collective let-down, but particularly for Church left back Zac Foster who was hauled off with five minutes left as Long finished the match with ten men.

The manager was furious with the defender’s performance and it remains to be seen whether Foster will play again.

“We dropped him for Tuesday and I’ve got to sit down with him,” said Long.

“On Saturday, I wasn’t pleased with his attitude so I took him off. He gave the ball away numerous times and didn’t track back. It wasn’t fair on the team and his team-mates.

“I gave him some instructions, he gave me some back-chat and then ignored them. I’m the manager and, even when I’m wrong, I’m right.”

After making five changes on Tuesday night, Long will again utilise his squad.

Matt Sargeant will play in goal after Paul Evans picked up a calf injury. Sargeant is cup-tied for Alvechurch’s JW Hunt Cup tie at Heath Hayes on Tuesday so Evans will be protected.

Ryan Winwood’s season is over due to his dislocated shoulder, while Leigh Downing (ankle) remains a doubt. Sam Williams, who suffered an ankle injury against Coleshill, will face a fitness test.