16th Jul, 2019

Church bid to book play-off spot

Redditch Editorial 18th Apr, 2019

IAN LONG suggests all the pressure will be on opponents Stourbridge when Alvechurch visit their play-off rivals today (Good Friday).

It will be second versus fourth at the War Memorial Ground (7.30pm) in one of the matches of the Easter weekend in Southern Premier Central.

Having rattled up a fourth win in a row in smashing Coalville Town 5-0 last weekend, Church need two points to guarantee a top-five place.

“There’s no pressure on us at Stourbridge,” said manager Long. “With the budget they’ve got and the budget we’ve got, there’s no pressure on us. We are the upstarts, I suppose, but we looking forward to it.

“At the start of the season, nobody ever thought we would be challenging for the play-offs. Now we’ve nearly achieved the unthinkable. The lads have done amazingly well; they’ve been fantastic and now we’ve got three more games to finish off the season in style.”

After the trip to Stourbridge, Alvechurch entertain Banbury United on Easter Monday (3pm) before ending the regular season with a trip to Needham Market next Saturday.

Long says his side remain very much the underdogs but he hopes they are hitting form at the right time as they look for a remarkable third promotion in a row. A top-three place and home advantage in the play-off semi-finals remains the target as they chase the dream of reaching step two for the first time.

“Everybody seems to be finding form at the right time and hopefully this momentum will carry on,” said Long.

“The possibility of having Stockport, or York, or Chester or Kidderminster Harriers at Lye Meadow next season in National League North would be amazing. Everybody can dream.

“There’ll be other clubs with same dream and going into the last week of the season everybody’s destiny in their own hands because a lot of the teams up there all play each other.”

Alvechurch all but ended Coalville’s hopes last weekend with a ruthless display of finishing, led by a Josh March brace, to record their biggest win of the season.

March hit the opener on 11 minutes, netting at the second attempt, and then made it 2-0 from James Roberts’ through ball on 23 minutes.

Jamie Willets added a third from a Kyle Morrison flick before half-time and, with Coalville having Joe Doyle-Charles sent off, Alvechurch continued to cut through the visitors’ defence. Tom Tonks raced clear for 4-0 on 76 minutes before Roberts got his reward with a smart finish in injury time.

“We had a real goal threat and we were very clinical,” said Long. “James Roberts has given us a different dimension, Josh March is in good form, Tom Tonks is chipping in with goals, but everybody is playing their part.

“We’ve got a big squad but I keep telling everybody they might not be in the team for one game but they could be the hero in the next. That togetherness is vital.”

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