Football
Smith becomes ’Church patron

By Jamie Arrowsmith Thursday 06 December 2012 Updated: 13/12 16:48

ALVECHURCH head to Westfields tomorrow buoyed by a return to winning ways in the Midland Alliance on Tuesday and by the news that Lye Meadow legend Alan Smith has become club patron.

Dean Holtham’s side, whose only consolation in a 4-1 loss at home to Kirby Muxloe on Saturday was a first half goal from defender Jake Allen, bounced back to see off bottom placed visitors Ellesmere Rangers 4-2.

The biggest news of the week though is attracing former England and Arsenal striker Smith to become club patron as Alvechurch look to raise their profile on and off the pitch.

Club secretary Stephen Denny said: “After former club patron Roy Yardley died in May 2011, the board decided not to re-appoint anyone to the vacant position as a mark of respect for Roy.

“However, after 18 months without a club patron, I proposed we approach Alan to see if he would be interested in the position.

“I know Roy would fully support and welcome Alan as his successor and the club are delighted and honoured that Alan has accepted the role of club patron at his former club.

“The role is primarily one as a figurehead for the club but, depending on Alan’s commitments, we are hoping he can attend major club functions and events and the club can benefit from using his name to support any commercial opportunities that may arise in future.”

Sky Sports pundit Smith added: “I was delighted to accept the role. The club will always be in my heart because I enjoyed some very happy times there and, as an 18-year-old, I learned a lot about senior football.

“They gave me my start and, for that, I shall always be grateful.”

Alvechurch head into tomorrow’s match in 11th place after their midweek win but it was not a walk in the park against an Ellesmere side with only three points.

Captain Scott Smith spurned a gilt-edged chance to put the hosts ahead and they were made to pay in the fifth minute when Rangers skipper Connor Courtney’s free kick fortuitously floated over home keeper Liam Maher and into the net.

Courtney twice came close to doubling the visitors’ lead but his misses proved costly when Alvechurch levelled in the 21st minute when Ryan Edmunds crashed a free kick low and hard into the net from 20 yards.

As the half wore on Omari Sterling-James and Jazz Luckie began to run riot and it was amazing the visitors got to half time without further damage as chances came and went.

The one-way traffic continued after the break and finally Alvechurch took a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute when Edmunds’ free kick on the left was met by the head of Sterling-James, whose effort came off the post before Luckie converted the rebound.

Rangers were not done though and levelled when midfielder James Haynes was allowed time and space to run at the Church defence before finding Courtney who cut inside and fired a shot which took a slight deflection before finding Maher’s bottom left corner of the net.

The match was up for grabs but Alvechurch were the more clinical and regained the lead on 79 minutes when full back Ryan Hatfield’s lung-busting run ended with him finding substitute Jamie Spencer, who curled a great effort into the bottom corner.

The scoring was completed three minutes later when a superb move saw Sterling-James find Spencer who crossed for Liam Spink to provide the finish.

Alvechurch have rearranged their Birmingham Senior Cup second round tie at home to Wolves for Tuesday, December 18 (7.30pm).

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