First Team vs. Alvechurch (2 : 2)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Ten-man Sheffield FC battled to the bitter end to salvage a point at home to Alvechurch with a 2-2 draw in the Evo-Stik First Division South, writes Luke Phelps.
Josh March gave Alvechurch the lead after half an hour from the penalty spot, before an own goal from Andy Parsons got Sheffield on level terms. But an unavoidable own goal from Ben Turner put Sheffield behind for the second time in the game, before Adam Chapman salvaged a late, scrappy equaliser for Club.
Sheffield adopted a previously unseen 4-1-3-2 formation with Sam Finlaw playing in the deep lying midfielder role, Adam Chapman moving into midfield and Grant Ryan pairing with Kuda Muskwe up front. New loan signing Luis Morrison, who is famed for his appearance on TV's Love Island, started as centre back on his Club debut.
One week on from the disappointing trip to Newcastle Town, there was a sense of optimism flooding The Coach and Horses where the new-look Sheffield side took on the well-supported Alvechurch. Club have suffered from a lack of goals of late, but an added striker seemed to give Sheffield the upper hand on the opening 5 minutes. Grant Ryan had a headed effort from a corner saved, and Rotherham loanee Kuda Muskwe was looking for those darting runs in behind the Church defence.
Sheffield’s latest centre back partnership became well occupied as Clubs early dominance had quickly faded. The visitors almost took the lead on 14, when a free kick whipped onto the penalty spot met the head of Church midfielder Andy Parsons who’s flicked header ricocheted off the unknowing head Julian Lawrence, before looping up and rebounding off the corner of the goal frame.
Church had Sheffield pegged back in their own half for much of the first period and got the lead which they probably deserved on 29 minutes. Debutant Morrison had a positive start to his Sheffield career but was responsible for giving away a penalty after a late, but not malicious tackle on Church striker March. Tom Turton stepped up for the visitors and sent Louis Jones the wrong way for the lead.
The setback looked to have injected some life into Sheffield attack, but the team were dealt a harsh blow when captain and talisman, Andrew Gascoigne was forced off with injury. Despite the loss Sheffield continued to push get an equalizing goal that would lift them back out of the relegation zone. Chapman and Ryan had ranged efforts on goal for Club, who went in for the break a goal behind.
One can imagine that Mark Shaw was not best pleased with his side at half time, but soon after the restart they found themselves back defending. For the first time in the game though, Sheffield manager to launch something of a counter attack on Alvechurch. Ryan played an early cross into strike partner Muskwe who’s exquisite first touch set him up for a close range one on one with Church keeper Lewis Gwilliams. But rushing in to prevent a goal was Parsons (49) for Alvechurch, who’s lunging leg looped the ball over his own keeper, putting a club back on level terms.
There was an air of misfortune descending upon The Coach and Horses, and its next victim was Sheffield s Ben Turner. On the attack again, March volleyed towards goal from the corner of the box for Church. A well-driven shot was pawed away by Jones and so unfortunately, off the shins of Turner (53) for an own goal.
Again, it needed a goal deficit to kick some life into the Sheffield team. Cecil Nyoni came close to his first goal for the club with a low shot from the edge of the box whistling just wide of the post. Jones had another top performance for Sheffield keeping his team in the game throughout but with a fresh attacking line, Sheffield were enjoying a good spell of possession in the opposition half. Finlaw had a thunderous shit blocked inside the box, and Lawrence sped from deep to touch a Rob Worrall cross just wide.
5 minutes of the game remaining, and Mark Shaw's team were endlessly pushing for an equaliser and substitute Leon Osbourne missed a golden opportunity when Ryan crossed low for Osbourne on the edge of the six-yard box. The frustration of the team Sheffield team was beginning to spill over and with just 2 minutes left Ryan was shown red. After the referee blew for a Ryan foul, the striker appeared to show dissent towards the referee, which resulted in his dismissal.
It all seemed over with Sheffield now down to 10 men and still a goal behind. Though their persistent perseverance in the second half miraculously paid off when captain fantastic Adam Chapman (90+1) tapped home the equaliser. A swinging Worrall free kick hit Lawrence at the back post. The defender who had another good performance, squared the ball across the face of goal and there was Chapman to finish.
Sheffield FC: Jones, Turner, Brown, Morrison, Lawrence, Chapman, Finlaw, Gascoigne ©, Ryan, Muskwe, Nyoni. Subs: Harrison, Yates, Osborne, Worrall, Gregory.
Alvechurch: Gwilliams, Ashmore, Foster, Turton, Parsons, Carter ©, Bellis, Yates, Reeves, Lloyd, March. Subs: Ceesay, Nadat, Botfield, Willets, Price.
|Andrew Gascoigne ©||