11th Dec, 2019

Byfield revamps Alvechurch squad with sixth new signing

ALVECHURCH are awaiting international clearance to finalise the arrival of defender Ryan Woollacott as their SIXTH new recruit in the past week.

Church are hoping to complete the paperwork so the former Stourport Swifts defender, who has spent the last three years playing in the Welsh Premier League with Aberystwyth Town, could be involved in Saturday’s home fixture against Coalville Town.

“Ryan can play centre-back, right-back or as a holding midfielder,” said boss Darren Byfield. “His versatility will be a real asset. That ability to play in a few different positions is something we need throughout the squad and we’re getting that with a few of the signings we’ve been making.”

Byfield’s search to strengthen his squad after a frustrating start to the season has been rewarded with a flurry of signings.

Midfielder Paul Douglas, signed from Redditch United, made his debut in the midweek 1-0 FA Trophy exit to Peterborough Sports which meant Church now have only the Southern Premier Central campaign to concentrate on after bowing out of all their cups at the first hurdle.

Young playmaker Finley Thorndike, on loan from Albion Under-18s, former Stratford Town midfielder Ivor Lawton and ex-Coventry United and Tamworth midfielder Fortune Maphosa were all on the subs bench as Peterborough progressed with an injury-time free kick winner.

Alvechurch have also signed exciting front-runner Stanley Asomugha from Albion for a month, with the forward having played for the Baggies Under-23s side.

Boss Byfield feels he has a strong base to build on with improved performances in recent weeks.

Despite the 1-0 defeat at Peterborough in the Trophy, sixth-bottom Alvechurch are unbeaten in the last three league games, but playing third-placed Coalville will be a stern test as they look to push away from the lower reaches of the league.

“I thought the worst we deserved on Tuesday was a draw and deep into injury time I thought that was going to be the outcome,” said Byfield.

“If the game had finished five seconds earlier, it would have been a replay but then they scored with the last kick of the game.

“We were comfortable. We didn’t really work their keeper but they didn’t really trouble ours and then they find a unstoppable free-kick in the last seconds.

“I was so disappointed, for the club and for the players. They showed me how they’ve developed as a team. They showed me they wanted to play, even if in difficult conditions and they showed they had the fight.

“There is a good base there. We’ve brought in players – and some will work and some won’t – but we will keep working to improve.”

Cameron Johnson’s free kick settled the tie for league rivals Peterborough after Alvechurch had played for 20 minutes with ten men after full-back Archie Brennan was harshly sent off. He was shown a yellow card for handball although the ball seemed to bounce up and hit him.

Church keeper Joe Slinn made two wonderful saves to deny Johnson and Joshua McCammon and Jamie Willets cleared a Mark Jones shot off the line as the hosts cranked up the pressure.

However, Alvechurch, who had forced home keeper Lewis Moat into two excellent first half stops from Mitch Botfield and Kyle Perry, almost nicked it when Javia Roberts was denied by the keeper.

“We’ve gone out of all the cups at the first stage which is hugely disappointing,” said Byfield. “I feel really disappointed for the fans, they give us great support and we want to pay them back.

“Now we need to do that by getting a few wins in the league and getting up the table.”

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