Lincoln United slip to narrow home defeat against Alvechurch

Lincoln United slipped to defeat as Luke Yates’ first half goal sealed all three points for Alvechurch at Ashby Avenue.

The 1-0 victory to Church made it three losses on the trot for Sam Wilkinson’s side, with Yates’ only goal meaning the Whites are still winless in 2018.

It was a game of few chances on a cold afternoon at Ashby Avenue, with most of the football being played in the crowded midfield.

Lincoln United manager Sam Wilkinson handed a debut to Steve Ridley against Alvechurch

New man Steve Ridley made his debut in midfield for the Whites, while Luke Hornsey and Kallum Smith came back into the side after last week’s defeat to Leek Town.

The visitors started the brighter of the two sides, shooting over the bar and creating problems down the flanks for Lincoln’s defenders, particularly through Yates, who was a constant menace down Church’s right flank.

Alvechurch created the first clear cut chance on the quarter hour mark, when a hopeful through ball from midfield found Lloyd, who scooped wide of the far post.

The perseverance of the Church attack was rewarded just after the half hour, when a throw in from the left found Lloyd. He played a few intricate passes with winger Josh March before feeding a through ball for the other winger Yates, who found himself one-on-one against Phil McGann and calmly stroked home with his right foot.

After going a goal down, United pushed hard for an equaliser, but while they dominated possession they couldn’t penetrate a resolute Alvechurch defence.

The second half started in similar fashion as the first, with both sides struggling to immediately get going. March forced a good save from McGann, who then prompted a counter which nearly saw the home side equalise. A teasing cross from the right could only be palmed by Lewis Gwilliams, and Paul Grimes narrowly missed his mark.

The Whites’ best chance came midway through the half, when Kallum Smith’s shot rattled the crossbar. The hosts  had a few other half chances, but most were off target and barely troubled Gwilliams in goal.

Sam Wilkinson made changes in an attempt to open up the game, but they had little impact against the organised Alvechurch defence, who were disciplined and didn’t allow any clear-cut chances.

Church should have had a second goal in added time when midfielder Ryan Winwood had an empty net to tap the ball home but somehow managed to shoot against the bar from a couple of yards out.

It wasn’t to matter though, referee Neil Guest blew for full time shortly afterwards to ensure victory for the play-off chasing visitors, who took one of the few chances they had and their resolute defence made sure of the rest.

For the Whites, it’s three losses on the trot ahead of a crucial away trip to Market Drayton Town next week.

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