A FIRST-HALF goal fest at Lye Meadow fell the way of Stratford Town as Paul Davis’ men stormed to a second win of the Southern League Premier Central season against Alvechurch.
Leam Howards’ seventh-minute opener was cancelled out when Jake Wakeling’s levelled from the spot seven minutes later, though Church were undone soon after when Will Grocott’s penalty and an Ashley Sammons stunner tipped the 3-1 scoreline in favour of visitors Town.
A frantic opening meant the first goal was never likely to be far away, and so it proved as Howards snuck home the opener after a melee ensued inside the box following a blocked effort from Sammons.
Ian Long’s men were not discouraged by this however, and quickly hauled themselves back on level terms.
A penalty conceded by Jordan Williams after a foul on Wakeling afforded the young gun to thrash home his fourth goal of the campaign from 12 yards in the 14th minute.
Minutes later, a lengthy stoppage followed, which perhaps took some momentum out of the hosts, when an injury to Dave Bellis forced him off the pitch – Joe Daley the man to step in as his replacement.
And with play getting back underway, Stratford were soon back in front when another spot kick was awarded for a handball after a drive goalwards by Kynan Isaac.
Grocott made no mistake, and four minutes later neither did his teammate Sammons with a sumptuous strike from distance.
It was a goal worthy enough of making any highlight reel – the ball dropped kindly after a short Stratford corner was headed away, and the midfielder did the rest with a rasping hit that left Niall Maher with no chance on 25 minutes.
There was a strong shout for a Stratford penalty waved away just before the break, when Maher clattered the onrushing Howards as he edged towards goal – earning him a yellow card.
In contrast, the second half failed to live up to the enthralling nature of the first, with chances at much more of a premium.
While the hosts did play some football that was easy on the eye, too many times they failed to make the most of their good play when reaching the final third and only threatened Ty Belford’s goal with a single effort on target during the half.
Stratford threatened to extend their lead further and could come no closer than a Howards drive which rattled the crossbar, while substitute Kyle Perry should have done better when blasting over from a good position.
The striker went closer still with a header from Joe Curtis’ centre that went narrowly miss, though the miss did not prove costly with Town comfortable winners.
Stratford now find themselves sixth in the table with six points from their opening two games, a healthy return which Davis and co. will help give them plenty of momentum going into Saturday’s FA Cup second qualifying round clash with division rivals Nuneaton Borough (3pm).
Town make the trip to the LDJ Solicitors Stadium wary of the indifferent start that the hosts have made to the current campaign, with Borough winless in their opening three league fixtures.