Alvechurch edged out in cup thriller

By Liam Moakes Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 13/02 13:00

ALVECHURCH shrugged off the disappointment of Saturday's poor 3-0 defeat at home to Causeway United in the Midland Alliance to produce an impressive display at Hednesford Town in the Birmingham Senior Cup quarter-final on Tuesday, but it was the Pitmen who prevailed 5-3.

In terrible conditions and on a poor pitch, Dean Holtham's side were a vastly improved outfit from the one which had been beaten at Lye Meadow three days earlier, but the Northern League Premier Division title favourites - who play two tiers above Alvechurch - eventually sealed their place in the last four.

The Pitmen took the lead in the 20th minute when a corner from the right was headed in by ex-Church player Francino Francis but the visitors levelled just a minute later when a through ball by Ryan Edmunds to Jazz Luckie saw the Church striker blatantly pushed off the ball by Francis.

Referee Mark Bilingham did not award the penalty, but fortunately the linesman saw the incident and eventually the spot kick was given which was smashed home by Edmunds.

A deft close range finish from Luckie then put Alvechurch ahead on the half hour mark but Hednesford levelled in fortuitous fashion shortly after the break when a cross from Elliot Durrel eluded everyone and the ball nestled in the net.

On the hour mark Alvechurch keeper Liam Maher made a fine save but Francis was on hand to convert the rebound but still the visitors refused to lie down and they levelled again in the 64th minute when Tristian Dunkley rifled home in superb style to cap a flowing move.

The nature of the match would have been of little surprise to Hednesford fans who had seen their team win their two previous matches in this season's competition 5-4 and there was soon another goal in this encounter as Jamey Osborne's corner sailed straight into the net in what was another freak goal.

Holtham's troops fought hard for a way back into the match and saw an effort cleared off the line but the outcome was put beyond doubt when Alex Melbourne curled a splendid strike into the corner in the 88th minute.

Mid-table Alvechurch host Rocester in the Alliance tomorrow hoping to complete a league double before visiting Bewdley Town on Tuesday in the Worcestershire Senior Urn quarter-final.

They should be able to call on the services of livewire attacker Omari Sterling-James and skipper Scott Smith who both missed the Hednesford game, whilst striker Joe Wright will seek more action having just made his return from a long-term injury.

STUDLEY produced a spirited performance in their Birmingham Senior Cup second round tie at Sutton Coldfield Town on Tuesday but the Royals were able to turn a 2-1 half time deficit into a 3-2 victory.

The hosts - who play a level above the Bees in Northern League First Division South - took an early lead through Jamie Sheldon but Lee Knight's team rallied in impressive fashion and two goals in the final seven minutes of the first half from Steve Deeley and Liam O'Shea gave Studley an interval lead.

However, Reece Leek's effort pulled the hosts level and Daryl Taylor bagged the winner 15 minutes from time to set up a quarter-final tie at home to Walsall.

Seventeenth placed Studley will look to take the positives from this performance into tomorrow's Midland Alliance fixture at Causeway United before they host Westfields on Tuesday.

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