September 25th, 2016

Dismal display leaves Alvechurch manager Long fuming

Coleshill Town 2 Alvechurch 0

Midland League Premier Division

A BAD day at the office…one game too far…whatever the phrase to sum up Alvechurch in Saturday’s defeat at Coleshill Town, it simply reflected their worst performance of the season.

Make no mistake, Coleshill are a decent side, as their fifth placed position in the table suggests.

However, this defeat – only the Churchmen’s fifth in the league all season – was more down to Alvechurch’s out of sorts performance as to the hosts’ endeavours.

An own goal from Luke Paskin to give Coleshill a 13th-minute lead perhaps suggested it was not to be the visitors’ day, but they lacked commitment, spirit and belief, so much so that furious manager Ian Long amazingly hauled off Zac Foster and sent him to the dressing room with five minutes to play, despite having already used his three substitutes.

Foster earned his manager’s ire when, having lost possession by the halfway line, he gave up in the chase of Gio Dainty in a swift Town break with ten minutes to go.

As it was, Dainty let him off the hook by stumbling over his feet as Shane Benjamin waited for a simple tap-in for a third goal.

If Foster was the villain then, it was a day when Alvechurch’s usual Superman heroes all faltered. They seemed to have kryptonite in their boots as passes went horribly astray, possession was surrendered too easily and their usual urgency and fluency was painfully absent.

There might have been mitigating factors with runners-up spot already secure and the players facing a fourth game in eight days in torrential rain, but Long will not accept second best.

It did not seem that way early on as Alvechurch had plenty of the ball and Josh March sent a free header at keeper Paul Hathaway from a Nick Wright free kick after ten minutes.

However, three minutes later the horror story began when Thomas Weale whipped in a superb corner from the left and defender Paskin could only head it past keeper Matt Sergeant at the near post.

At the other end, Coleshill keeper Hathaway reacted superbly to push away a James Spray effort and blocked a Wright shot from close range when a equaliser seemed certain.

Coleshill had plenty of threat though as Sam Adkins fired over and Mykel Beckley’s diving header was wide before they netted their second goal five minutes into the second period.

Alvechurch lost the ball 25 metres inside the Coleshill half but Reece Leek powered through the back-pedalling defence and crossed from the right for a smartly taken first-time finish from Beckley.

A double substitution to bring on Jordan Nadat and Jack Cresswell tried to spark Alvechurch but Beckley just could not finish from Adkins’ pass as Coleshill threatened a third.

With the hosts happy to sit back and hit on the counter-attsack, Alvechurch finally built some pressure but Nadat fired wide, Mark Smith’s back-heel was cleared off the line by Weale, Smith nodded a Cresswell corner wide and final substitute Nathaniel Waite had another close range strike blocked.

All in all, it was a day to forget from what has largely been a season to remember.

Tonight (Tueday), Alvechurch look to continue their push for 100 points when they meet Sporting Khalsa at Lye Meadow.

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