ALVECHURCH head into tonight’s (Tuesday) FA Cup third qualifying round tie at Ilkeston Town buoyed by Saturday’s 1-0 league victory over previously unbeaten Tamworth which lifted Ian Long’s men into 11th place in Southern Premier Central.
Kevin Monteiro’s strike on the stroke of half-time at Lye Meadow was enough to seal a second successive league win and set Church up perfectly for tonight’s fixture in Derbyshire against their Northern Premier League Division One South East hosts.
The Robins may play a tier below Alvechurch but they have enjoyed a fine start to the campaign with ten points from four unbeaten league games to accompany their FA Cup progress.
Ilkeston, managed by former Stoke City and Peterborough United forward Martin Carruthers, have beaten three Step 5 teams to reach this stage.
A tough test is expected by Long and Co but Alvechurch will approach the fixture with confidence having turned their league fortunes around and also having won two FA Cup fixtures including a superb success against Kidderminster Harriers which has already netted the club £5,625 in prize money, with another £5,625 up for grabs at the New Manor Ground.
On Saturday, a resolute Church side battled hard to secure victory against Tamworth.
In the first minute a poor clearance from keeper Jas Singh presented Isai Marselia with a chance but the Church man sent his 30-yard effort over the gaping vacant goal.
Lindon Meikle then fired into the side-netting as the Lambs responded before Joe Hull might have opened the scoring for the hosts had he made a better contact with Dominic Brown-Hill’s inswinging corner.
Midway through the first half Brown-Hill made a fine goal-saving block but it was Alvechurch who struck what would prove to be the winner in the dying embers of the first half when Monteiro broke from deep and held off two retreating defenders before deftly chipping the ball over Singh into the far corner of the goal from the edge of the box.
Alvechurch could and should have increased their advantage shortly into the second period but three efforts on goal were blocked within the space of seconds.
Tamworth rallied and substitute Jaanai Gordon blazed high and wide from a good position before Tom Chamberlain had a strike saved at the other end after good work from Monteiro.
There was a late scare for Church when Aaron Forde blazed over from a good position but there proved to be no way back for Tamworth.
Kevin Monteiro is congratulated by his team-mates after bagging the winner on Saturday. Picture by Ian Macvie.