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Match Report: Alvechurch Women 2-1 Rugby Town Women

Match Report: Alvechurch Women 2-1 Rugby Town Women

Paul Hasker5 May - 21:00
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Alvechurch make it nine straight wins in all competitions to enhance their title credentials.

Alvechurch took another step towards their ultimate goal with a hard-fought victory in their penultimate home game of the 2024/2025 season against a stubborn and strong Rugby Town Women outfit.[/b]

There were two changes to the starting eleven as Billie Kelly and Annie Clayton returned. Kelly replaced Mia Dolan - who was unavailable for Sunday afternoon's home tie. Meanwhile, Clayton came back into the defence in place of Jess Wallace. Katherine Christopher and Nicola Pludra were the only two named amongst the substitutes as Jessica Shepherdson dropped out of the squad.

Alvechurch knew their task - but could they get it done in extremely hot conditions?

An electric start to the contest sees both teams on the front foot. There were two half-chances for the home side inside the opening 10 minutes. Charlotte Leedham delivered a teasing ball into the box before the keeper came out to collect, she dropped the ball the first-time before sparing her blushes by gathering. On 8 minutes, the ball was cleared to the edge of the area that saw Erin Jordan arrive and hit a half-volley over the bar.

Church' persistence finally took its toll on the visitors though. As the clock struck 14 minutes, the hosts got themselves in-front. Leedham, who has a say in most things, dug out a cross which caused all sorts of problems for Rugby Town. The ball fell to Molly Hicks, who couldn't quite the ball under control but the rebound fell invitingly for Alisha Sheridan to do what she does best and stick the ball into the back of the net!

Could we build on this?

The goal seemed to spring the visitors into life - who were playing their final game of the season on Sunday - so were now looking to bounce back and finish on a high. Moments after Sheridan's opener, Rugby worked a brilliant opening which forced on-loan goalkeeper Harley Savage into action with a smart save down to her right.

That effort was just the beginning of what was to come. A period of 10-minute pressure was mounting on the home side - who became very tense and starting to be pinned in.

Rugby's striker had a golden opportunity to level the encounter on 35 minutes as a back-pass didn't quite have the purchase on it allowing the away side through on goal but the strike went the wrong side of the post for a huge let-off.

But a minute later, Rugby's spell of pressure would finally reward them with their equaliser. A tangle of legs 25 yards from goal saw the referee hand the visitors a free-kick. From the resulting free-kick, the strike was inch-perfect as it slammed the crossbar and into the back of the net. Alvechurch 1, Rugby 1.

Four minutes before the interval, Church thought they had regained their lead through Leedham - but she was adjudged to have been in offside position. Literally, seconds later, Hicks had a golden chance to swing the game back in the hosts' favour but the goalkeeper was equal to it as she made a great save down to her left.

Frustrating half...


As mentioned above, the frustrations were growing for the Church side - who had been in a real battle in that first 45 minutes.

Now was the time for cool heads, and for someone to step forward to make themselves the hero to keep Church' bid for the tier six title in their own hands but crucially ahead of the showdown in two weeks' time with Redditch Borough.

With trying to find the goal to retake the lead, there would be the risk of leaving the door open for Rugby to exploit. Three minutes into the second period, Imogen Butler raced onto a pass but the keeper came flying out to deny the winger.

On 62 minutes, Leedham whipped in a ball to the far post from the corner allowing skipper Christopher to find some space at the back post but the ball was a tad bit too high leaving her with no real chance to guide it home.

Step forward... the hero?

With time ticking away, Church' frustration turned into delirium. Butler got a fortunate break of the ball allowing her to drive into the space. She then linked up with Sheridan, playing a quick one-two which split the Rugby defence. Sheridan kept her composure inside the area and dispatched the effort into the far corner!

Now time really would slow down and feel like an age before we reached the destined full-time whistle. With 20 minutes to hold onto their lead or extend it, the ladies gave their heart to the cause and dug in deep.

There were a few other half-chances for Church to kill the game but Rugby kept themselves in it with either the crossbar, defenders or goalkeeper in the way to deny Church a third.

However, the home side held on and came out of the encounter with three massive and hugely vital three points in-front of the home faithful!


PHEWWWWWWWW... Football, aye?

Huge credit has to go to the girls, who were made to work for those three points in hot conditions and against a hugely-spirited Rugby side - who also made it nervy and difficult for the home side. But, the girls pull through and now head into their final three games of the 2024/2025 season. #UpTheChurch

Sedgley & Gornal vs. Alvechurch
Sunday 12th May 2024
14:00pm KO
The Dell Stadium (DY5 4NE)
WMWRL Division One South

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