Pair celebrate survival

By Liam Moakes 24/04 Updated: 24/04 19:22

REGARDLESS of whether it is two or three teams to be relegated from the Midland Alliance, both Alvechurch and Studley can now relax as the duo secured mathematical safety over the past week.

The Bees sit 14th after their 3-2 victory at Atherstone Town on Saturday and their tally of 51 points leaves them eight above third from bottom Highgate United heading into tomorrow's final match of the season at home to Heath Hayes.

Alvechurch are two places and three points behind after banishing any lingering fears of the drop with last Thursday's 2-1 home win over Ellesmere Rangers, although they were sunk 3-2 at Lye Meadow on Saturday as Tividale struck in injury time.

Alvechurch prevailed against Ellesmere in a hard fought encounter in which there was a dramatic start and conclusion to the match.

The hosts took a second minute lead when Andy Nicol - a talismanic figure in the revival of Graham Scott and Vaughan Pearshouse's side in the final third of the campaign - finished neatly following Lee Dunkley's inviting centre.

However, struggling Rangers rallied and levelled two minutes later when Darren Beech sent a sublime 25-yard free kick curling into the hosts' net.

The home faithful were rejoicing a minute from time though when Tom Elder netted with a near post header from Ben Judd's corner.

Two days later fourth placed Tividale had the better of the first half but Alvechurch were dominant in the second period and were unlucky to finish empty-handed.

The hosts took a tenth minute lead against the run of play through the in-form Joe Wright, but Tividale levelled controversially in the 32nd minute when a penalty was awarded and yellow card shown to centre back Scott Smith, despite it appearing that Dunkley had made the challenge and on the edge of the area.

Grateful for the chance to level, Kyle Hill converted the spot kick and his side led 2-1 on 52 minutes when ex-Lye Meadow man Michael Woolman converted at the second attempt.

Alvechurch roared back though and Nicol's deflected 83rd minute strike looked to have rescued a point, only for another ex-Alvechurch player, Jason Chilton, to strike a speculative effort which eluded the red-faced but otherwise highly impressive home keeper Lewis Gwilliams and the ball skidded off the wet turf into the net in the second minute of added time.

After the league campaign has finished at leaders Gresley Rovers tomorrow, Alvechurch also have their Worcestershire Senior Urn final against Bewdley Town to look forward to at Kidderminster Harriers' Aggborough home on Tuesday, May 8.

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