Another Step Closer
By Alan Deakin
A good weekend for Church as they bag three points, and closest rivals slip up.
The first of four games in eight days that will define Church’s season.
A one-nil win was just reward for another solid performance, although the narrowness of the scoreline naturally contributed to a nervy last few minutes, but the home side tip-toed around the banana skins to ensure another valuable three points.
And on a day when closet rivals Frickley Athletic and Bedworth both dropped points with a draw and a defeat respectively, the win quickly became that more valuable.
The only goal of the game came towards the end of a busy first half in which Church had begun somewhat nervously, but as the visitors fail to take advantage, Church assert themselves, and on 38 minutes Yates beats the offside trap, and curls a shot around the advancing keeper, only to see his effort come back off the foot of the post, but fortunately Waite is on hand to poach a goal by driving the loose ball over the line from six yards.
Chances for Winwood (volleying a Foster cross wide at the far post) and Carter (driving a 25 yard free kick wide after a short free kick) had already seen Church go close on 20 and 25 minutes, and on the half hour Sauane curls a shot just wide of the far post after another good flowing move from Church to move the ball forward into the box as the opening goal beckoned.
Church’s slow start had seen the visitors enjoy a bright opening. Just two minutes in and a strike from the edge of the box saw Gwilliams bundle the ball onto the post and back into his grateful hands, and on 12 a cross from Coleman and a diving glancing header from Ruthven again called the Church keeper into action but he was well positioned to deal with the danger.
Just before the Church goal an almighty scramble in the Church box saw three blocked shots before the ball was finally cleared, but the goal put a much better complexion on the game.
Church began the second period on the front foot, and a Carter freekick on 47 forced the keeper into a good save at the second attempt, but the visitors were still producing the odd counter chance, and on 51 a free kick launched into the Church box produced a snap shot that Gwilliams had to react quickly to and palm over the bar. Two minutes later Coleman cuts inside on the edge of the Church box and flashes a shot across the face of the Church goal and thankfully wide of the far post.
Church looked dangerous again on 64 when a cross field ball finds Foster running in wide left, and he cuts inside to take the full back out of the game before firing an angled drive that has keeper Reay at full stretch to tip the ball over.
Church had a goal ruled out for a perceived infringement in the build up, and Reay twice keeps his side in the game with one on one blocks to deny Ceesay and Sauane as Church sought the nerve-settling second goal, but although it never came the points remained safe as Church controlled the play through the four minutes of stoppage time.