IAN LONG hopes Lee Chilton’s influence on Alvechurch is only just starting, despite the new signing becoming a target for Bromsgrove Sporting.
Midfielder Chilton, who first came to prominence at Church a decade ago, has added extra experience to Long’s squad as they push for the Southern Premier Central play-offs.
However, having joined from Sporting Khalsa before Christmas, Chilton is now the subject of a seven-day approach from neighbours Sporting.
Long says the player had indicated he will stay but the boss is also aware Sporting have greater resources than Church can offer.
“Lee said he wants to stay – he is enjoying his football,” said the manager. “I suppose it depends on what Bromsgrove might offer but I would be disappointed if he left after only being with us for a few weeks.”
Play-maker Chilton and goalkeeper Dan Crane, who joined from Sporting, both joined to provide extra know-how. Chilton has also played for Halesowen Town – Saturday’s visitors to Lye Meadow – and Willenhall Town, while Crane has had spells at Bedworth United, Hednesford Town and Solihull Moors.
Church’s options for the No 1 shirt had been reduced after Charlie Price underwent a back operation and Matt Sargeant (bicep injury) and Paul Evans (illness) were ruled out, but Crane has now played the last three matches.
“Lee and Dan are two experienced players. I felt we were lacking a little bit of experience and the two lads have both played at Premier Division and above.
“We keep on looking to improve the squad and I’m out watching games every night of the week but it’s not easy getting the players we want,” added Long.
Alvechurch ended a three-match losing run as a stoppage-time goal from Josh March secured a 1-0 win at fellow high-flyers Stratford Town.
In the fifth meeting between the sides this season, there were few chances. Chilton fired over from a couple of opportunities and Andre Landell just failed to get a touch to Chilton’s cross, while at the other end Will Grocott shot over and Crane saved from Nabil Shariff.
The deciding moment came two minutes into injury-time when substitute March was on hand to net his seventh goal of the season from Josh Ezewele’s cross.
After going down to injury-time goals in their defeat at Banbury United, such a late finish was a welcome turn of events and victory kept Church within three points of fourth place.
“In all honesty a draw would have been a fair result but it was nice to snatch the win after the way we lost at Banbury,” said Long. “We had played well too against Tamworth and we should have been home and dry by half-time. We missed chances and we’ve been punished for missing chances.
“Beating Stratford, who were top of the form guide, was an important win. After three defeats on the spin, we needed to end that run.
“We are still in touch with the play-offs and now we’ve got another big game on Saturday against a Halesowen side fighting to get out of the relegation zone.”