Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Alton v Christchurch 13/11/18

Alton 2 Christchurch 8

The Russell Cotes Cup is an often (unfairly) maligned Competition, especially in the eyes of supporters, and not always treated with the respect it deserves by Clubs but when it throws up a game such as the one at Alton on Tuesday night there is very little to complain about. This was a highly entertaining ninety minutes and whilst it was perhaps a little one-sided by the end there was some good football and some cracking goals for the smaller than usual attendance – another feature of games in the Competition – to enjoy.

The goal rush started as early as the fifth minute when the visitors took the lead. They had already forced two corners when they were awarded a free kick some seven or eight yards outside the D and absolutely central. Most of the Alton side formed the defensive wall but to no avail as James KING sent the free kick high in to the roof of the net with goalkeeper Boughton completely beaten. Three minutes on and the scores were level as Taylor Watts found space on the left and a looping header by Matt BUNYAN from the cross sailed over Ollie King in the Christchurch goal. It took just another four minutes and Alton had gone from a goal down to being in front as a corner from the right in to a crowded six yard box was headed in to his own net by a blue shirted defender. To add injury to insult so to speak the defender then needed treatment before being able to continue.

Christchurch had adapted quickly to the pace of the pitch and before the half reached the midway point had levelled the scores with King this time the provider as his diagonal cross from wide on the right was volleyed home by Shaun PRENTICE. There was nearly a third when a Max Wilcock shot from twenty five yards rattled the crossbar whilst Alton in turn looked dangerous with crosses and corners as the visiting defence and goalkeeper seemed not always to be on the same wavelength. There was a long discussion between the referee and two visiting defenders – subject unknown – before King twice came close to putting his side in front, firstly just failing to make proper contact with a Loyd Cole cross and then seeing an effort from a narrow angle saved by the goalkeeper’s legs.

However the lead was not long delayed as Christchurch then scored twice in as many minutes just before the break. PRENTICE claimed the first, a carbon copy of his first goal though the volley was more acrobatic – but on both occasions the home defence was rather static – before WILCOCK got in on the act with a twenty five yard effort that went in off the underside of the bar. The half finished with a display of petulance from Alton’s Chandler that bought a response from a Christchurch defender and occasioned an extremely lengthy conversation between the referee and his Assistant which culminated with three cautions. An element of a sledgehammer being employed to crack a nut but one of the cautions was certainly warranted. HT 2-4

Two down at the break meant that Alton needed to get back in to the game as soon as possible but it was the visitors who started the stronger with a Wilcock shot, after Alton had given the ball away, fumbled by Boughton in the home goal and cleared at the expense of a corner before ten minutes in to the half it was effectively game over. A badly under hit back pass left Boughton to challenge Jack SATTERLEY outside the area, the forward was always favourite, won the challenge and steered the ball in to the vacant net.

Alton then did not help themselves with a similar back pass though this time a corner was the outcome but the visiting side were now well on top and in control. Goal number six came at the midway point as the ball was moved down the left flank in a quick passing movement before Billy Walker provided the cross for WILCOCK’s low finish. Substitutes came and went on both sides before Christchurch added two more goals in quick succession as the game moved in to the final ten minutes. Wilcock fastened on to a through ball and Boughton did well to parry the shot but could do nothing to prevent PRENTCE slotting the loose ball home to complete his hat trick before the home defence failed to deal with a corner and Brad CHERRETT notched number eight.

There was still time for another Wilcock effort to rebound off the crossbar before the final whistle and a place in the next round for the Premier Division side. Christchurch are rare visitors to the frozen north of the County and it was enjoyable to watch the performance on the pitch and re-establish contact with their ever-friendly Officials and on this evidence a rise up the Premier Division table must be on the cards. Alton will simply put it down to experience and move on. This was my third visit to Alton this season and twenty one goals have been scored in those three games – all very entertaining. FT 2-8 (John Gorman) 

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