Alvechurch 2-1 Leiston
By Lewis Glennon
Roberts first goal secures win
James Roberts first goal for Alvechurch earned Alvechurch a huge three points as they came from behind to beat Leiston.
Matthew Blake's stunning 25-yard strike had given Leiston a lead but, following a Kieran Cook equaliser, Roberts composed finish extended Church's position in the play-off places to six points.
With heavy rain throughout the day and just before kick-off, the first half proved a sloppy affair but did see both teams create early chances. For Alvechurch Josh March was denied by Marcus Garnham with Jamie Willets seeing his header from the resulting corner blocked on the line. Meanwhile, up the other end Dan Crane was on hand to force Blake to hit the ball wide of the goal and make a good save from Dominic Docherty.
With the boggy pitch playing a part it was another twenty minutes before there was any other chances, but it proved to be a stunning goal. Blake picked the ball up around 25-yards from goal, turned, and curled home a superb strike past the helpless Crane. Alvechurch tried to reply but Roberts saw a shot go wide and another easily into Garnham's hands.
With five minutes of the half remaining Ian Long's side found an equaliser however. A well worked move led to Tom Turton's cross being headed in by Cook.
The home side made the dream start to the second half with through Roberts. The striker capitalised on a mix up in the Leiston defence and raced through on goal before calmly dinking the ball over Garnham and into the net. He then did well two minutes later and played the ball to March who appeared to have been fouled in the box, but referee Robbie Dadley opted to give a free-kick on the edge of the box instead much to Church's disbelief.
There was to be even more anger from the Church faithful when soon after this Roberts had a goal ruled out, with Dadley stating that Rahis Nabi had put the ball out of play. Leiston meanwhile, reminded Church how dangerous they could be with Christy Finch being denied by Crane when through on goal.
Roberts again was proving to be a thorn in the visitors side and forced a brilliant save from Garnham with little time remaining. A nervy ending ensued by Church hung on to claim the win.
The victory was a huge one and leaves Alvechurch six points clear in the play-off places with five games to go. However, no games are easy at this level starting with Saturday's visit to champions elect Kettering.