September 24th, 2016

Patience required in title race – Long

IAN LONG has stressed patience will be very much a virtue to Alvechurch’s challenge in an increasingly unpredictable Midland Premier title race.

The Lye Meadow manager admitted he sensed moments of panic as the Churchmen missed the chance to go top of the table after drawing 0-0 at Quorn on Tuesday night.

Quorn have proved to be a huge bogey team for Alvechurch, who have not beaten the Leicestershire side in 14 matches, but the Churchmen squandered a glorious chance when Nick Wright fired a late penalty over the bar.

“It was a great opportunity missed to go top,” said Long, who said he was unhappy with the performance.

“We’ve got to do better. There were a number of things I wasn’t happy with, our delivery into the box, our decision-making.

“We’ve got to be more patient. We lost our composure, we panicked and started to play the game too long, which isn’t our style.

“We had the chances, but didn’t get on the end of them, then Quorn might have snatched it but for some good saves by Paul Evans.

“If you look at the last five games, there’s only one performance really that I’ve been happy with.”

The result left Alvechurch one point behind leaders Hereford with a game in hand and, while Long says the pressure remains on bookies’ favourites Bulls, he suggested it is far from being a two-horse race.

“People are saying it’s a two-horse race but Sporting Khalsa had a good win and I’m certainly not ruling them out,” said Long. “Neither ourselves or Hereford are in great form at the moment and we’ve got to play Khalsa twice and Khalsa have got to play Hereford.

“The pressure is still on Hereford because of the size they are but I still think there will plenty of twists and turns. There’s still a third of the season to go so we’re not even in any title run-in yet.

“All we can focus on is our game. We’ve certainly got to improve to keep picking up the points and keep the pressure on Hereford.”

Long hinted he will be looking to bolster his squad before the end of March transfer deadline, although a move for Lye Town front-runner James Spray looks likely to fail.

Long can speak to the former Wolves youngster today (Friday) but the indications are that Spray, who can play up front or as a playmaker, will stay at Lye.

“I’ve been reasonably happy overall with the squad but we’ve had a couple of dodgy results recently and certain players have not come up to the level I expect,” said Long.

Alvechurch face a third away game in succession tomorrow (Saturday) when they head to in-form Brocton, with Long hoping to have striker Nathaniel Waite back in contention after injury.

“Brocton are very much a form side and we are going to need to get back to our best,” added Long.

Alvechurch had Jordan Nadat and Connor Deards to thank for winning 2-0 at Long Eaton on Saturday.

The Churchmen had to wait until midway through the second half to get the breakthrough goal when Nadat fired home from a Dave Bellis pass.

Moments later, Nadat was the creator with a break down the left and a cross to the far post for Deards to double the lead.

Alvechurch had their chances on Tuesday but Quorn, with former Albion keeper Russell Hoult in goal at the age of 43, proved impenetrable.

Nadat had a couple of opportunities in the first half but the best chance came when substitute Karl Edwards was flattened and a penalty was awarded. However, as Hoult hurled himself from the goalline, Wright’s right-footed effort flew over the bar.

Leigh Downing had also missed a penalty in the sides’ previous meeting – another draw – and Alvechurch will hope the failures will not prove costly come the end of the season.

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