First Team vs. Alvechurch (2 : 3)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
A super strike from Danny Dubidat in the final minutes of this entertaining encounter robbed Sheffield of a richly-deserved away point, writes Bill Towning. Club’s players took the game to their opponents and for large periods of the game were the better side with Gregory, Algar and Ryan causing all sorts of problems and Finlaw and Yates delivering strong performances in midfield.
Gregory and Algar combined well in the fourth minute to give Grant Ryan a chance on goal but his shot lacked power and was safely gathered by Gwilliams in the Alvechurch goal. The early pressure paid off, however, and from a free-kick on the right hand side the ball was somehow scrambled over the line, Julian Lawrence looked to have got the final touch. Sheffield continued to have the better of the play in the first half, and mid-way through Ryan brought a very good save from Gwilliams after Adam Chapman had found Ben Turner with a super cross-field ball.
Gregory then picked up the ball from an error in midfield and drove forward only to see his effort blocked. Alvechurch came close when McAuley Manning beat his marker and hit a good attempt which clipped the top of the Sheffield crossbar, but Sheffield continue to press forward and Tyler Williams went close, cutting in from the right and sending a shot just the wrong side of the post. Alvechurch equalised in the 39th minute from the penalty spot, Chapman adjudged to have bundled over Manning. Louis Jones got a big hand to Turton’s effort but was just not able to keep it out of the goal.
Sheffield began the second half on the front foot, Williams just over running the ball in a good position, but Jones was called into action to make a good catch under pressure from an Alvechurch cross. Yates got forward with a good run and was fouled, but from Club being in a good position from the free-kick the ball was cleared up to Dubidat who scored with a good finish across Jones to make it 2-1 to the home side. Sheffield responded well to this set-back and Algar’s cross was collected in the penalty area by Turner and his fierce shot clattered the crossbar. Ryan hit a good ball across the penalty area which Gregory, at full stretch, diverted wide of goal.
Sheffield equalised on 71 minutes when good work from Gregory and Algar presented the hard-working Ryan with the task of smashing the ball into the net from 12 yards which he did in some style for a deserved leveller. For the last quarter of the half it looked as if both teams would be content to share a point each; on both sides legs were tired and Turner and Gregory picked up knocks and were replaced by Harrison and Dawes respectively.
Unfortunately for Sheffield, in the 86th minute from a fairly routine ball upfield, Dubidat collected on the right hand side and was able to turn and fire in a super shot that went into goal off the woodwork.
This was hard luck on Sheffield whose players had given a very good account of themselves. Next up for Club is a trip to Kidsgrove Athletic hoping that the improvements we are seeing in the team’s performances will yield some much deserved points.
Alvechurch FC: Gwilliams, Parsons, Foster, Turton, Willets, Carter, Bellis, Botfield, Dubidat, Manning, March. Subs: Cesar, Winwood, Waite, Tilbury, Price
Sheffield FC: Jones, Turner, Brown, Yates, Lawrence, Chapman ©, Algar, Finlaw, Ryan, Gregory, Williams. Subs: Magee, Harrison, Dalton, Dawes, Roney.