Friday October 18 2019



Village Features

Play-offs beckon for AFC

Posted on April 29 2019 at 11:20:04


Alvechurch FC keep their eyes on the promotion prize.

Alvechurch kept themselves in the play-off spots and managed to spoil the party for Kettering Town with a 2–1 win; Mitch Botfield’s late winner denying the runaway league leaders the chance to secure the title there and then.

Both sides came into the game determined to take the three points, but ’Church were superb throughout and got off to a dream start just three minutes in when Tom Turton’s corner found Jamie Willets, who headed home brilliantly.

Kettering created two good chances of their own, but AFC continued to impress and twice should have doubled their lead. The second half proved exciting and it was Kettering who scored soon after the re-start.

’Church, however, continued to match their hosts right up to the dramatic end, when Andre Landell pulled the ball back for Botfield whose strike squirmed through the Kettering keeper’s hands, sparking a great celebration for the visitors.

Earlier, Alvechurch had bounced back from defeat at Kings Lynn with a commanding 2–0 victory at St Ives but this was followed by a shock 5–1 home defeat to Barwell with 10 men.

Things picked up back with home wins against Hitchin and Leiston – and a fantastic 5–0 demolition of Coalville Town.

’Church were sitting in fourth position as we went to press, with a crucial away game against second-placed Stourbridge FC about to take place.

The league champions gain automatic promotion and the next four clubs compete in the play-offs on Wednesday May 1.

The team who finish second will host the team in fifth (currently Stratford Town) and the club in third (currently King’s Lynn) would host fourth place.

The winners of these two matches then play each other in the final on Saturday May 4, hosted by the club finishing highest in the league.

However, the winner is still not guaranteed promotion. As there is an imbalance between promotions and relegations, there will be two “super play-offs” on Saturday May 11 between the play-off winners of the four feeder leagues to step 2, with the two victors gaining promotion.

These fixtures and venues will be decided after the play-offs, based on points-per-game average over the season.

* Meanwhile, officials from the FA visited Lye Meadow to check on the upgrades required to continue playing at step 3. The club was instructed that extra seats, an extra turnstile and larger changing rooms were the major projects required to maintain its status.

Under the leadership of chairman Richard Thorndike and secretary Steve Denny, all the work was completed and the FA gave its approval.

Special thanks must go to the contractors who worked so hard under such tight time constraints and to the supporters who volunteered their time prior to the inspection, tidying up the ground ensuring it looked immaculate.

* Top scorer Josh March won the Goal of the Month award for March for his first goal in the win against Lowestoft, where he smashed the ball into the top right-hand corner.

Player of the Month was recent signing Tom Tonks. Since joining from Stourbridge, his influential play in midfield and long throw-ins causing havoc in the opposition’s defence have made him a worthy winner.

Centre forward James Roberts has signed for Alvechurch on loan until the end of the season from Hereford. The deal went right up to the 5pm transfer deadline as the club waited for FA approval.

Since his arrival ’Church have won the three games he has played – he scored the winner against Leiston and is a constant threat.

Former Alvechurch forward Luke Yates has joined local rivals Redditch United. Luke played an integral part of AFC’s promotion last season, and this season has been out on loan to Highgate United and Wolverhampton Casuals.

*  On Friday September 6, Lye Meadow hosts a luncheon with former Arsenal, Middlesbrough and England footballer Ray Parlour as guest speaker. Comedian Jed Stone will also entertain the audience.

Tickets, priced £65 per head or £600 for a table of 10 (to include a three-course Indian meal), are available via chairman Richard Thorndike and directors Simon Redhead and Paul Weaver.

*  For more info or sponsorship enquiries, please contact Trevor Ball at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit   Follow the club on Twitter @Alvechurch1st

Pictured: Celebrating the win at Kettering (Photo/ Ian Macvie)

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