IAN LONG has challenged Alvechurch to erase their FA Cup disappointment by setting out on an FA Trophy adventure to remember.
Church were left devastated after conceding two goals in the 87th and 95th minutes to lose 2-1 in their FA Cup third qualifying round tie at Buxton on Saturday.
However, they bounced back in midweek with a 2-1 home win against Market Drayton Town to push into seventh place in Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division One South, with games in hand on all the teams above them.
On Saturday Alvechurch return to the Trophy for the first time in nearly three decades when they visit league rivals Belper Town for a preliminary round tie.
Their last Trophy game ended in defeat to Gainsborough Trinity in 1991 and their last win in the competition was in 1987 against the now-defunct Leicester United.
“For all the pain about how we went out last Saturday, we have to put it behind us,” said Long. “It’s a competition we were never going to win!
“The lads gave it their all. You could see how disappointed they were and there was no point me laying into them. They knew it was a game we should have won.
“Paul Evans had one shot to save all game before they equalised and that was a mistake from us.
“But after Buxton it was important we bounced back against Market Drayton. I couldn’t stress enough how important it was to get a positive result. We did that and now we need to push on again.”
Alvechurch, however, will have to rule out new signing Alex Darlison, who joined from Lye Town. Although he played at Buxton with a broken toe, the injury has become infected after the former Stourbridge and Chasetown player was stamped on.
“Alex will give us another physical presence at the back and he did well on his debut,” said Long. “He was one of the positives.”
Defender Jamie Willets, who has missed the last two games with a thigh injury, and midfielder Jack Cresswell (back) face fitness checks but forward Nathan Waite, who has recently signed from Romulus, and left back Zack Foster are both in contention.
Danny Dubidat had scored to give Church the lead at Buxton, with the striker pouncing on a poor defensive header to round the keeper.
Only three minutes of the 90 remained when Buxton levelled through Ricky Ravenhill after Church failed to clear and then a flicked header from Sam Smith settled the tie.
On Tuesday Church conceded first but a slick move finished off by Jamie Ashmore levelled matters on 27 minutes and then Dave Bellis fired home the winner a couple of minutes into the second period.
Meanwhile, striker Luke Keen has joined Bedworth United.
Alvechurch Reserves were knocked out of the Worcestershire Junior Cup after they let a two-goal lead slip to lose 6-4 at home to Evesham United U21s in a lively game.
Oliver Hartill’s men fell behind early on but led 4-2 at half time thanks to a Dean Fisher penalty and hat-trick from Eliot Nash.
However, Evesham completed a second half comeback as Ewen Dunbar scored a hat-trick off his own. Nick Hancock, Ryan Reeves and Sam Beddoes also betted for the Robins.
The Reserves head to Bromsgrove Sporting Reserves on Saturday in a Challenge Trophy tie.