23rd Aug, 2019

Byfield: Don’t rest on your laurels

Liam Moakes 25th Jul, 2019

DARREN BYFIELD has reminded his Alvechurch players every place is still up for grabs for the first league game after expressing his disappointment at their midweek friendly performance.

Despite winning 2-1 at Midland League Premier Division side Heather St John’s on Tuesday, the Church boss felt it was a below-par display.

The returns of Babucar Sauane and Stuart McNaught provided positives but overall Byfield felt too many were out of sorts.

“I was disappointed with the performance,” said Byfield. “I know it’s only pre-season but we all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet and I don’t think we did that on Tuesday.

“I thought we were off the pace and only a few players did themselves credit. We’ve worked them hard in pre-season and maybe there was some fatigue.

“But we all need to be on the same wavelength.

“Everybody has got to prove they should be in the team. That’s the case for every single game and in every training session. It’s non-stop.

“That’s the way it is. If you’re out of the side, you need to show you should be in it. If you’re playing, then you need to keep playing well to stay in the team.”

Alvechurch had opened the scoring at Heather, who won the MFL Division One title last term, when Kyle Rowley nodded home at the far post in the 16th minute.

The hosts levelled through Frazer Doyle three minutes into the second half, but trialist Fortune Maphossa headed home from a free kick for the 63rd-minute winner.

Teenager Maphossa, who had come through the academy ranks at Tamworth, played at centre-half but can also play midfield and Byfield is set to have another look at him.

“Fortune is still with Tamworth so it’s just an opportunity to see how he does,” said the boss.

March returns in fine style

Alvechurch had suffered a second home defeat in pre-season on Saturday when former favourite Josh March bagged a hat-trick in the colours of new club Leamington.

After being level 1-1 at half-time, Church had the better of the early stages of the second half but March completed his treble in devastating fashion to seal a 4-1 win for the National League North side.

March headed home Cieron Keane’s pinpoint delivery on 12 minutes but Kyle Morrison levelled five minutes later, nodding home from close-range after Rowley headed Danico Johnson’s free kick goalwards.

March, who left Church in the summer after four seasons, clipped home a near-post cross from Connor Gudger on 63 minutes and then pounced on defensive hesitancy with a perfect 20-yard chip on 81 minutes. He then set up a Brakes trialist for their fourth.

“For 70 minutes I was happy with how we played,” said Byfield. “But Josh is a quality finisher and he showed that.

“A couple of goals came from our mistakes but hopefully we will get rid of that for the start of the season.”

Alvechurch will train on Saturday before they head to Paul Smith’s Halesowen Town on Tuesday night (7.45pm) and then entertain Evesham United on Saturday in the final warm-up game before the BetVictor Southern League Premier Division campaign kicks off away to Royston Town on August 10.

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