For the second time in 11 days Alvechurch edged Bromsgrove Sporting to advance in a cup competition, this time in the Southern League Challenge Cup. As in the previous encounter, there was little between the two sides but 'Church go through courtesy of an opportunist goal and probably helped by playing against ten men for much of the match.
It was a cool windless evening at Lye Meadow as both teams started at a brisk pace with Sporting have the better of the play and possession in the opening stages, though it was the home side who had the first good chance but Dave Bellis put his effort over the bar.
On the 16th minute though the match swung dramatically in 'Church's favour when Sporting 'keeper Jono Brown tried to play the ball out of his area. He dummied one player but his resulting pass only found Kieron Cook who seeing Brown way off his line lobbed the ball 35 yards into a welcoming empty net to open his side's account.
Five minutes later, Danny Jackman making his competitive debut for The Rouslers, had Sporting's best effort of the half when he volleyed John Pykett's cross but Alvechurch stopper Paul Evans easily gathered.
Andy Parsons for 'Church had a shot blocked from a corner whilst Liam Armstrong for Sporting made a good run through a packed defence but his low-powered effort hardly troubled Evans.
Then on the 36th minute, more drama after Jason Cowley was upended only for the striker to confront his marker, Theo Llewellyn with an attempted head butt; referee Mr Shepherd having no hesitancy in showing a red card.
However the change in numbers made no difference to the score line as both sides went in for the interval.
For the second period, the game continued as before with Sporting pushing for the equaliser whilst 'Church were happy to keep numbers at the back and not over commit up front. Cameron Peters as the lone striker kept the home back four busy but he had to go off on 60 minutes with an injury. Pykett took up duties as the front man but swapped with Charlie Dowd later in the half.
Chances were few for either side but with just three minutes left it looked as if Danny O'Callaghan would put the match out of reach for Sporting with a pile driver through a pack defence only for Brown to parry with a reflex save. Into added time and Pykett made a brilliant run weaving round several home defenders and looking to even things up only for his low drive to go agonising past the left-hand post. Finally with seconds remaining Trea Bertie put over a cross to Aaron Lloyd who had an open goal at his mercy only to sky the ball out of the ground.
So disappointing for Sporting who more than matched their opponents and may have done better with eleven men on the pitch and without giving away an unnecessary goal. Afterwards, coach Kevin Barry said "I though we deserved something out of the game, we kept going to the end and everybody worked hard and were a credit to the Club"
Alvechurch: Paul Evans, Andy Parsons, Taylor Morrison, Theo Llewellyn (Danny O'Callaghan 81 mins), Kyle Morrison, Mark Smith, Dave Bellis (Capt, Mitch Botfield 68 mins), Aaron Birch, Aaron Lloyd, Kieron Cook (Luke Yates 74 mins), Trea Bertie.
Substitutes unused: Ben Tilbury, Matt Sargeant.
Goal: Kieron Cook (16 mins)
Sporting: Jono Brown, Aaron Roberts, Jack Wilson, Liam Armstrong, Craig Jones (Capt.), Harry Higginson, John Pykett, Danny Jackman (Josh Quaynor 79 mins), Jason Cowley, Cameron Peters (Will Shorrock 60 mins), Jack Cresswell (Charlie Dowd 46 mins).
Substitutes unused: Danny Morris, Nathan Hayward.
Yellows: Cameron Peters (55 mins), Aaron Roberts (65 mins)
Red: Jason Cowley (36 mins)
Referee: Mr J Shepherd (Dudley)
Assistants: Mr J Cox (Stourbridge), Mr J Evans (Stourbridge)
Weather: Cool, dry
Sporting MoM: John Pykett
Reporter: Phil Baker