ALVECHURCH began the New Year with a disappointing 3-0 defeat away at league leaders Tamworth having also played local rivals Redditch United twice over the festive period.
An Eoin McKeown hat-trick condemned Church to defeat at the Lamb Ground in their first game of 2023 as Tamworth showed their class to see off Ian Long’s side.
The result means Church have dropped back into the relegation zone albeit with several games in hand on the teams above them.
Prior to that, Alvechurch played Redditch twice over the festive period, once in the league and once in the cup, as the first game ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Lye Meadow on Boxing Day.
The second fixture saw Redditch triumph on penalties in the Worcestershire Senior Cup after a 1-1 draw in regulation time at the Trico with the Reds advancing to the semi-finals in front of a bumper 1,663 crowd after the game was made free entry for all.
In the league fixture, Alvechurch took the lead on 15 minutes when Jed Abbey produced an excellent first time finish after he combined well with Ben Cassidy.
However, the Reds drew level on 28 minutes when Reece Flanagan turned the ball home from close range after Church failed to deal with Lewis Hudson’s ball into the box.
And Flanagan completed the turnaround on 58 minutes from the penalty spot after Danny King was fouled in the box.
The visitors extended their lead five minutes later when King planted a free header past Dan Jezeph from a corner which left Church with plenty of work to do.
However, Abbey hauled Church back into the contest on 68 minutes with a penalty of his own after Calum Flanagan fouled Danny Waldron in the area.
And Long’s side were back on level terms on 80 minutes as Abbey completed his hat-trick when he pounced to smash a loose ball into the net after Waldron’s initial header was blocked.
The teams met again three days later in the cup, as both teams rang the changes, and Church again took the lead when Jamie Spiers produced a neat finish just before the hour mark.
However, Redditch grabbed a late equaliser with just three minutes left to play when King stormed in to score at the back post and send the tie to penalties.
The first 12 spot kicks were successfully converted before both teams saw their next penalty saved only for Church to miss again which allowed Ryan Wollacott to score the decisive penalty and win the game for Redditch.
Alvechurch are next in action at home to Barwell on Saturday, January 7 with kick-off at 3pm at Lye Meadow.