Stourbridge 1-2 Alvechurch
By Lewis Glennon
Church secure play-off final place
Alvechurch came from behind to defeat Stourbridge and secure a play-off final against King’s Lynn Town on Monday.
Goals from Andre Landell and James Roberts saw Ian Long’s side overturn a one goal half-time deficit and seal a trip to Norfolk with a third promotion very much a realistic chance.
With a hectic week seeing Wednesday’s initial fixture being postponed and moved three time’s Stourbridge gave up their home advantage to play at Alvechurch’s Lye Meadow to ensure the game was on.
Both league ties between the two side’s had finished in draws; the most recent being an entertaining 3-3 draw two weeks ago. This again proved a very tight affair with both teams creating a number of chances in the first half.
The first fell straight from kick-off to Gregg Mills but he fired well over from range. Alvechurch then had a golden opportunity to take the lead, but Roberts struggled to control a long ball; leading to James Wren saving and Josh March having the re-bound blocked.
Former Stourbridge midfielder Tom Tonks then caused his former side some issues from a long throw-in which Mitch Botfield headed against the crossbar.
The ‘home side’ responded with Aaron Hayden firing over from range and Kaiman Anderson forcing a save from Dan Crane. Anderson then fired wide while Mitch Botfield then forced Wren into a save.
Alvechurch defender Ash Carter then superbly won the ball back before beating three Stourbridge players to force a save from Wren; before the half ended in controversial fashion.
A Stourbridge corner was met by Paul McCone whose header was saved by Crane. Crane then saved the follow up header from McCone, but the referee deemed it as a handball from Church defender Zack Foster.
A penalty was given, and Mills sent Crane the wrong way to give Stourbridge a half-time lead. Alvechurch rallied in the second half though. Substitute Landell bravely got in between McCone and Wren to head into an empty net.
Mills then forced Crane into a brilliant low save before Alvechurch took the lead. A well worked move fell to Roberts and he slotted past Wren to put Alvechurch ahead.
Landell then thought he had a second, heading in Tom Turton’s free-kick only for it to be ruled out for offside. Luke Benbow then forced a brilliant save from Crane from range; before Landell fired over the bar.
Alvechurch though, saw out the win leading to great scenes at the full-time whistle and can now prepare for a trip to Norfolk on Monday.