Match deleted from records in MaY 2020 after 2019-2020 season voided due to coronavirus

18.1.2020

BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Alvechurch

Hednesford Town

Glover (53)

(0) 0

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

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223

Shaun Rowley

L W D L W L L W L W

 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds (A) 21.1.20

The Pitmen get themselves back to winning ways this afternoon as they defeat struggling Alvechurch at Lye Meadow to remain in the hunt for the play-offs

Tuesday's postponement of the home game against Peterborough Sports had allowed the squad a full week's rest ahead of today's game, with skipper Ben Bailey returning to the side after serving a one-match ban in last weekend's defeat at home to Coalville Town. Midweek had seen Andy Wycherley's loan spell end as he was sold by parent club AFC Telford United to Solihull Moors in a move that saw Solihull's current number two keeper Shaun Rowley loaned to the Pitmen for a month whilst Solihull took a closer look at their new acquisition. Izak Reid continued to be rotated with Tom Fry in midfield, with Fry dropping to the bench to allow Reid to start. Osebi Abadaki had been feeling the effects of illness during the week and was dropped to the bench to all Ethan Jones to start up front for his first start for the club in the final of three changes to the starting XI

Alvechurch's season has been one of constant struggle from the off, with former manager Darren Byfield leaving early on after an underwhelming summer recruitment had left last season's play-off finalists languishing around the bottom three. Current interim manager Dean Holtham had been busy bringing players into the squad in midweek following last week's defeat at Barwell, signing forward Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls from Bedworth United, midfield man Knorry Scott on loan from Kidderminster Harriers, Orlando Joao from Market Drayton Town and striker Nehemia Zazi from Coleshill Town. Having seen over fifty players represent the club this season already, Church had clearly struggled to create any consistency in their ranks during a tumultuous campaign so far. The hosts named familiar faces Lewis Wright, Kyle Morrison, Linden Dovey and Kyle Perry amongst their matchday squad, all players who have previously represented the Pitmen at some stage in their careers

The considerable slope at Alvechurch had seen any remnants of the wet weather witnessed in midweek drain away, with a bobbly, uneven surface greeting the players at kick-off on a cold but bright afternoon in Worcestershire. It was the away side that were to force the first chance of the game in the fifth minutes as a long ball from Matt Curley was flocked into the path of Elliot Hodge, whose shot from an angle drifted high over the crossbar from twelve yards out

Both sides were finding it difficult to settle in the opening fifteen minutes of the game, with misplaced passes going astray on both sides and the uneven pitch taking simple passes away form players on several occasions. New boy Rowley was well involved in the game from the early stages, showing good composure with the ball at his feet and working well with the defenders in front of him

A mistake from Bailey in the fifteenth minute led to Rowley ring called into meaningful action for the first time, as the Hednesford captain dwelled on the ball for too long and allowed Zazi to rob of the ball cheaply. The former Coleshill man raced clear of the Pitmen's defenders but could not find a way past Rowley, who made a good save with his feet to block the debutant's shot

Another good move down the right from Hednesford three minutes later saw James Hurst send over a superb cross for Danny Glover to head into the path of Hodge, only for a block tackle from former Hednesford man Dovey - now playing as a right-back - to deny Reid a tap-in at the far post. From the resultant Hodge corner, the Pitmen felt they had a serious shout for a penalty kick as Bailey's flick header was turned goalwards by Glover, only for Aaron Birch to divert the ball away from goal with both arms. Despite strong calls, the referee was unimpressed and Alvechurch cleared their lines

 

Neat build-up play from the Pitmen on twenty-four minutes saw Curley, Hodge and Glover all involved in setting up Hurst for a long-range effort the Alvechurch keeper Joe Slinn made a comfortable save from as the Pitmen continued to press

Two minutes later, Sam Griffiths strode forwards to get on the end of a long throw from Bailey, only to miscue his shot and send it well wide of Slinn's right-hand post

Alvechurch had shown little the way of an attacking threat with new boys Scott and Zazi showing a willingness to chase the ball but offering little quality when they reached the final third. Rowley continued to impress by showcasing his ability to command the penalty area from corner kicks and distribute the ball well with his feet when required

A poor first-half was finally put out of it's misery with one added minute, with both sides trudging off after a poor spectacle that neither set of supporters can claim their side had the better of proceedings at the break

 

. It was Alvechurch that had the first sighter at goal in the second half on forty-eight minutes, however, as Rowley was forced into a good save to deny Zazi after the striker's long-range shot had bounced up into Rowley's body

Two minutes later, Griffiths was alert to the danger to deny former Pitman Wright, turning his shot away from goal after Zazi had beaten Bailey to a cross and nodded it down into the Halesowen loanee's path

From the resultant corner, the Pitmen failed to effectively clear their lines as Birch's long ball fell at the feet of Wright once more, only for Reid to block his effort. Zazi's rebounded shot was brilliantly blocked by Gatter, bravely diving in to smother the striker's long-range effort

Despite this bright opening to the half, Alvechurch found themselves a goal down on fifty-three minutes as the Pitmen struck a killer blow. Reid's initial shot was deflected behind for a corner by Dovey, allowing Hodge to send over a fine inswinging cross that was flocked on by Hurst and into the path of Glover. Hednesford's top scorer showed his goalscoring instinct once more, controlling the ball well before lashing a low shot beyond the reach of Slinn and into the corner of the net from an angle for his thirteenth goal of the season

The Pitmen remained on top of the game for a short spell as they went in search of a second goal; Bailey's long-range volley was diverted away from goal on fifty-eight minutes by Morrison, before Slinn did well to claim a Hodge effort at the second attempt after the Pitmen had recycled the ball from Bailey's initial shot

A Bailey long throw on the hour mark was flicked on at the near post by Reece King, only for Reid to get his angles all wrong and lift his shot well wide of goal from twelve yards out

The Pitmen's first change of the afternoon came in the sixty-third minute, as Jones's lack of match time started to catch up with him and was replaced by Abadaki

Quick feet from the tricky Kevin Da Veiga Montiero created an opening for the Alvechurch man on sixty-seven minutes as he slid past Curley and Reid down the left-wing, only to lift his anger shot over the crossbar rather than send over a cross the four men in amber lined up in the penalty area

Former Hednesford man Perry - whose two spells at Keys Park ended acrimoniously - was afforded a typically 'warm' welcome by the visiting supporters as he was introduced to the game, coming on for the tiring Zazi up front

A strong run from centre-back Morrison saw him play a quick one-two with Wright on seventy-three minutes to find himself in behind the Hednesford back line, only for Rowley to make a good stop to turn his shot from an angle away from goal before Curley completed the clearance

Alvechurch were growing in confidence, sensing a late equaliser to rescue something from the game; Wright's corner kick was inadvertently flicked into the path of Perry by Curley, whose header, in his eyes, appeared to come off the arm of Glover before Rowley pounced on the loose ball. Again, the referee was unmoved to Perry's over-dramatics and the game continued

With six minutes remaining, the away side made their second change of the game with a like-for-like swap in midfield as Fry came on in place of Reid for the final minutes of the game

Perry was once again the centre of attention on eighty-six minutes, as he took a tumble in the penalty area as he and Charlie Gatter challenged for the ball. The portly striker appeared to go down far too easily for the referee's liking and waved away the veteran's protests for a spot-kick once more

The Pitmen were content to play counter-attacking football against their limited opponents, with Abadaki showing neat skills in his cameo appearance down the left-wing and Glover once again working hard for the cause up front to chase down lost causes and rush the hosts into long, aimless balls forwards that were easily cut out by the impressive Hednesford defence

A hard-fought win for the Pitmen in an unattractive, battling game of football that was in many ways instantly forgettable from both sides. The Pitmen still hang on to their play-off ambitions, sitting four points behind fifth-placed Rushall Olympic with three games in hand on their local rivals and playing catch-up on most sides above them in the table. One of these games come up on Tuesday night when they are on the road again to make their first-ever trip to AFC Rushden & Diamonds looking for back-to-back league wins for the first time since September

Alvechurch: Slinn, Dovey (Brennan 76), Foster, Wollacot , Morrison ©, Hull, Wright, Birch , Zazi ▆ (Perry 67), Scott (Bailey-Nicholls 57), Monteiro      Subs Unused: Sargeant, Monaghan

Hednesford Town: Rowley, Curley, Griffiths, Gatter, Bailey ©, Hurst , Hodge (Fry 84), KingD. Glover, Jones (Abadaki 63), Reid    Subs Unused: M. Glover, Bath, Veiga

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