13th Dec, 2019

Alvechurch sign Dunkley ahead of top-of-the-table clash

TRISTAN Dunkley will end Alvechurch’s immediate search for reinforcements after returning to the club where he first played.

The striker has joined from Tamworth and will come straight into contention for Saturday’s Southern Premier Central match of the day when fifth-placed Church entertain third-placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Manager Ian Long has been on the hunt to add to a depleted squad in recent weeks, but Corby Town target Jordan Francis, the former Romulus attacker, decided to remain with the Steelmen.

Dunkley will be a timely addition ahead of the busy Christmas period but also comes with a CV packed with experience at Step Three and above after spells with Worcester City, Hednesford Town, Rushall Olympic and Solihull Moors.

He had been on Birmingham City’s books as a youngster before joining Alvechurch, combining playing for Loughborough University when he studied there.

“We’ve been really low on numbers so we needed to bring in someone and Tristan is a proven player at Step Three,” said Long. “He has been at Tamworth, Hednesford and Rushall so he knows what’s required.

“He hasn’t played that much football lately so he knows he has got to come in, buckle down and work hard.

“There’s no guarantees to any shirt at Alvechurch and everyone has to earn their place.”

Dunkley will provide extra options in attack and will be battling with Aaron Lloyd and Andre Landell for centre-forward duties, but he can also play in a wider role.

Despite lying fifth after the midweek 1-1 draw at Halesowen Town, Alvechurch have scored the fewest number of goals of the top 11 sides.

However, they have been creating chances and that was the case at The Grove. They fell behind after ten minutes when Lewis Reilly converted from a Joel Taylor cross but then dominated, only for efforts from Zack Foster, Tom Turton and Kyle Morrison to go wide.

The second half brought wave after wave of Church attacks – Josh March forcing keeper Kieran Boucher into an acrobatic save and Landell sweeping a shot just wide. The equaliser finally came in the third minute of stoppage time when March slotted home.

“After the defeat at Biggleswade on Saturday, we wanted a reaction and we got that,” said Long. “A draw was the least we deserved.

“I’m always critical and on Saturday we were abysmal, but on Tuesday we were very good, from one to 11. There was a good intensity from the start and if we play like that week in, week out we will win a lot of football matches.”

On Saturday, Alvechurch had dropped out of the play-off places after a 4-2 defeat at Biggleswade Town.

They were 2-0 down after 32 minutes with Joe White and Matt Ball on target before Josh March grabbed a goal back from a corner on the stroke of half-time.

But Biggleswade were the stronger in the second period and opened the lead to 4-1 with further strikes from Bradley Bell and Ball.

Landell slotted home his first league goal for Church eight minutes from time but a disappointing day ended with a red card for defender Josh Ezewele in the final seconds.

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