5th Dec, 2019

Boss Byfield backs Alvechurch to turn it around

DARREN Byfield insists his rebuilt Alvechurch side are close to clicking as they look to get back to winning ways after a frustrating week.

Church went down 2-0 at fifth-placed Rushall Olympic in Saturday’s Southern Premier Central fixture and then lost 2-0 at leaders Tamworth on Tuesday.

Byfield’s men had nullified Liam McDonald’s Pics until the stroke of half-time and then poor marking allowed a simple second goal seven minutes into the second.

They were again left to rue their own missed chances but on Tuesday they were soon under the cosh as the Lambs scored twice in the opening 13 minutes and the table-toppers were in relative cruise control.

Byfield admits it will take time for the recent additions to settle. Albion loan duo Finley Thorndike and Stanley Asomugha made their first starts against the Lambs, while Ryan Woollacott had also come off the bench for his debut against the Pics.

He senses they are on the right track but he warned they cannot afford to lose concentration at key times. The game at Rushall would have had a different complexion at 0-0 at half-time, but similarly they cannot let teams off the hook when they fail to take their own chances.

The defeats have left Church fifth from bottom, two points above third-bottom St Ives Town, before they welcome AFC Rushden & Diamonds to Lye Meadow on Saturday, weather permitting.

Alvechurch were always struggling against Tamworth after the hosts quickly seized the initiative.

Dan Creaney headed home a Ryan Beswick free kick past keeper Joe Slinn for the first goal on six minutes and then Ahmed Obeng was left with time and space to fire home a second on 13 minutes.

Slinn continued to be busy, denying Obeng and Beswick, but Church came more into the contest in the final 30 minutes as Aaron Gilpin headed over and Thorndike blasted a shot at Jas Singh.

Alvechurch had more than matched Rushall in the first half on Saturday, with Javia Roberts poking a golden chance just wide after Kyle Perry’s flick.

Instead the Pics went ahead on the stroke of half-time with Jonathan Letford heading home a superb cross from ex-Church player Danny O’Callaghan.

Alvechurch threatened an equaliser early in the second period with Jordan Goddard’s free kick flashing wide and Paul Douglas shooting at the Pics keeper.

However, the next goal fell to Rushall on 52 minutes when ex-Church and Studley defender Orrin Pendley finished after a goalmouth scramble.

The Pics were reduced to ten men when Reece Mitchell was sent off just past the hour and Alvechurch ended strongly, only for the lively Thorndike to force a good save from keeper Jon Flatt and then fire just over before Flatt saved bravely at the feet of Asomugha.

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