DARREN BYFIELD does not expect to win 5-0 every week – but Alvechurch’s goal-fest last weekend emphasised how they are raising standards.
Byfield was justifiably delighted by Church’s 5-0 demolition of visitors Hitchin Town on Saturday for their first win of the 2019/20 Southern Premier Central season.
Ryan Nesbitt rounded off a dazzling individual show with a hat-trick while John Atherton produced a stunning goal after a 60-yard slaloming run.
It was the performance, though, rather than the mere statistics which excited Byfield the most and he wants to see his players kick on again when they visit Hednesford Town on Saturday and then entertain Redditch United on bank holiday Monday at Lye Meadow.
“Right from the first whistle to the last, the players were on it,” said Byfield. “There was a real togetherness, a real desire and now we want to build on it.
“We’re not going to be able to win 5-0 every week but Saturday showed what we are capable of.
“What pleased me most was how the players have taken on board what we have asked of them and they put it into practice. You can’t play for yourself, you have to play for each other.”
Summer signing Nesbitt summed up that philosophy, with Byfield saluting his all-round game, not just his three goals.
Kyle Morrison bagged the first goal, converting from Jamie Willets’ knockdown on seven minutes, before Atherton’s dazzling solo effort after picking up the ball on halfway to open a 2-0 interval lead.
Nesbitt, Church’s loan signing from Solihull Moors, opened his goal account with a neat lob from Jordan Goddard’s pass and then made it 4-0 after punishing a blunder from keeper Josh Mollison before rifling home a penalty following a handball offence.
“Ryan is an out-and-out goalscorer but Saturday showed everybody there so much more to his game,” said Byfield. “He was superb, not just for his goals, but with his link-up play.
“He would have been disappointed with the first game of the season at Royston and then being on the bench against Barwell but he showed a lot of character to come back in and play like he did.”
Byfield also praised winger Atherton for his dazzling goal and suggested it will give the former Walsall Wood and Uttoxeter Town player a massive lift.
“This time last year Jonno was playing at step six,” said Byfield, who had taken him to former club Walsall Wood after being recommended by their former boss Gary Birch.
“He will have gone home on Saturday and thought ‘I can do this at step three’. He wants to keep improving.”
Byfield was hoping Rahis Nabi, who has yet to play after being injured in pre-season, would be back training last night (Thursday) but fellow midfielder Stuart McNaught is set to miss the matches after hurting his hamstring against Hitchin.
Fourth-placed Hednesford ended Stourbridge’s winning start to the season last weekend, handing out a 3-0 hammering to Ian Long’s side, and Byfield expects a big challenge for his side. It is not one, though, they will fear.
“People won’t expect us to go and beat Hednesford,” said Byfield. “They will be on a high after beating Stourbridge but we will also go there on a high. Winning breeds confidence.
“After Saturday and then Monday against Redditch we will have a good idea of how we stand.”
REDDITCH United head into the bank holiday weekend buoyed by rescuing a last-gasp 2-2 draw at Needham Market on Saturday.
Substitute Rhys Hilton was the 90th-minute hero with the second leveller of the game for Ian King’s men following Callum Coyle’s first half strike.
The Suffolk side took a ninth-minute lead when Craig Parker beat Reds keeper Max Beardmore to the ball to convert Samuel Squire’s cross.
However, shortly after Joe Marsden had seen his effort for the hosts disallowed, Solihull Moors loanee Coyle was on hand to draw the Reds level on 35 minutes.
Redditch were not on level terms for long though as the persistent Marsden got his reward four minutes before the break with a neat finish into the bottom corner from Parker’s through ball.
Ian King’s young United side showed plenty of resilience in the second half and their efforts were then rewarded through Hilton’s late strike.
Redditch, with two points from their opening three games, face another Suffolk side – Lowestoft Town – at the Trico on Saturday before Monday’s visit to Lye Meadow.