FAIRFIELD Villa are well and truly up for the Presidents Cup after a resounding 3-0 away victory over Coventry Alvis booked their place in this year’s final.
Alfie Bloomer’s 35th-minute strike got the Swans up and running at Green Lane, while Dominic Strevens’ crucial second seven minutes later meant Fairfield had one foot in the final.
Then, with 15 minutes remaining, Ross Dempster put the seal on Villa’s progression to give Keith Draper’s side a real shot at claiming silverware this season.
With the other semi-final between Knowle and Northfield Town scheduled to be played in just over a week’s time on Saturday March 21, Fairfield will now wait with baited breath to discover their opponents.
Prior to Saturday’s last-four tie, the two sides had only previously met four weeks beforehand, with Fairfield 3-2 victors that day at the same venue.
Perhaps buoyed by their recent psychological victory over their opponents, Draper’s Swans started brightly and looked determined in a bid to reach the showpiece final.
Left-back Keith Draper – not to be confused with his manager on the sideline – let fly a left-footed drive that arrowed wide of the target, while Bloomer threatened when cutting inside and flashing an effort past the post.
After creating some more half chances for themselves, the first clear opening that fell the visitors’ way was gratefully taken by the well-placed Bloomer – who guided the ball home at the far post from a right-wing cross.
Defender Chris Hill almost doubled the advantage after seeing his header was cleared off the line – a close call but one that would not come back to haunt Fairfield thanks to Strevens’ goal moments later.
The striker latched onto an incisive through ball and, after touching the ball out of his feet, nestled his shot into the bottom corner to put Villa firmly in control at the break.
Perhaps expectedly, Alvis showed some signs of life at the beginning of the second half, but their attempts of a comeback were no match for the resolute Sam Allen-Ralph between the Swans’ sticks.
While the number of chances in the second half were at a premium, it was Fairfield who created the best opportunities.
Dempster flew a powerful drive goalwards that narrowly cleared the crossbar, but made no mistake on 75 minutes when tucking the ball past the Alvis ‘keeper.
The visitors had the ball in the net twice more before the game was out, albeit for the offside flag to deny Bloomer and Dempster.
Fairfield will be hopeful that the excitement generated by their cup exploits can fuel a strong finish to their Midland League Division Two season, starting with Saturday’s home game with Bolehall Swifts (3pm).
Ninth-placed Villa won the reverse meeting against the Swifts, who are 15th, by a 2-0 scoreline in January – thanks to efforts from Daniel Ludlow and Dempster.
THERE WAS no such joy for Barnt Green Spartak on Saturday after a disappointing 4-1 defeat away to Hampton.
Spartak ended the game with ten men following Chris Bishop’s red card, but were already well on course for a comprehensive victory.
Ainsley Seivwright’s third-minute opener set the tone for a disappointing day at the office for GJ Singh and Neil Martin’s men.
Daryl Francis doubled the advantage in the 26th minute, while Cameron Seivwright and Matthew Harris netted in the 70th and 87th minute respectively to earn a straightforward victory for the Field Lane hosts.
Finlay Gaynor issued Barnt Green’s reply with a fine shot using the instep of his foot that curled sumptuously into the top-right corner of the net – a strike worthy of winning the game but acting as nothing more than a mere consolation.
Green, who are 11th, find themselves back on the road again this weekend with a trip to FC Stratford in a 3pm kick-off.
Saturday’s visit to The Arden Garages Stadium will pose a real challenge against top-half opposition, as Spartak hunt for a first victory since January 4.