By Liam Moakes 08/08 Updated: 09/08 14:37
Alcester Town 3 Inkberrow 0
Athium Midland Combination Les James Challenge Cup
ALCESTER TOWN celebrated their return to Athium Midland Combination Division Two with a fine win over local rivals and visitors Inkberrow in the first round of the Les James Challenge Cup on Saturday.
Following last season's hugely successful campaign which saw the team win the Stratford Alliance Division One title as well as two cups, the step up to the Midland Combination sees the club and manager Dave Poulson realise a five-year ambition to once again see the team playing at this level.
The match itself, at Town's fantastic new Stratford Road home, saw a keenly contested start in which most of the play centred around the midfield area.
Gradually Alcester settled into the match and their first effort on goal came on 19 minutes when Nick Dance latched on to a through ball, only to see his smart chip palmed away by the visitors' keeper.
Despite the odd attack from Inkberrow, it was the hosts who began to dominate and, following a smooth passing move, James Gifford broke into the area and coolly slotted home on 37 minutes to give Town a well deserved 1-0 half time lead.
The second half saw the visitors start brightly and exert some good pressure on the home goal but good defending by Alcester, in particular from Ady Dipple and Nat Webb along with a calm and assured performance by Paul Dipple in goal, kept Inkberrow at bay.
With the storm weathered, Town started to take hold of the game with both Levi Lewis and Dance prominent. It only seemed a matter of time before Alcester increased their lead and this came on 62 minutes in the form of another well worked move culminating in Gifford finding space to drill home his and Town's second goal.
Inkberrow became more and more frustrated, typified by their number 10 picking up a booking for deliberate handball after trying to palm the ball into the Alcester goal.
The scoring was completed in the 85th minute when Gifford converted from the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick.
ALCESTER built superbly on their opening day victory by thrashing visitors Barnt Green Spartak 5-0 in Midland Combination Division Two on Tuesday.
Tomorrow (3pm) Alcester welcome Coventry Spartans to Stratford Road for their second league game and spectators are welcome to come along and get behind the team.
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