Saints’ cup defence is ended by Alvis

ALVIS 2 SOUTHAM UNITED 1

Saints manager Luke Fogarty was left to rue his side’s missed chances as hopes of back-to-back wins in the Coventry Telegraph Challenge Cup were dashed at Green Lane on Saturday, writes David Hucker.

“We should have put the match to bed before half-time but, if you don’t take your chances, you don’t win,” said Fogarty.

“The lads wanted to have another crack at playing at the Ricoh Area, but it’s over now and we will have to knuckle down and do our best in the league.”

With Neil Stacey back from a three-match suspension and Luke Church returning after illness, Fogarty put out a strong side to try and retain the trophy won last May. But it was Alvis, with former Leamington striker Avun Jephcott in their line-up, who had the best of the early exchanges with a couple of efforts sailing over the Saints crossbar.

Saints were denied by a double-save from the home keeper, who first parried an Oli Manoochehri shot and then stopped the follow-up from Brad Rees. Both Rees and Stacey went close with long-range efforts before captain John Blunsom set up Manoochehri, who sliced wide.

Another Manoochehri effort was scrambled clear and the former Henley Forest striker was then unable to beat the keeper after being played through by Andy Millan.

James Hardie also had an effort cleared before giving Saints a 36th- minute lead with a 35-yard strike.

The advantage did not last long, with Alvis taking advantage of hesitant defending to make it 1-1.

With half-time approaching, Hardie went close again, while the home side rattled the Saints crossbar.

Church replaced Stacey in the 64th minute and almost immediately set up Millan, who scooped the ball over the bar.

Saints were made to pay for their misses when, three minutes later, Alvis went ahead from a throw-in.

As Saints looked to find a way back, Millan headed over when it looked easier to score.

Fogarty sent on Luke Swinnerton in place of Blunsom, but it was Alvis who went closest to scoring again, hitting the side netting with five minutes remaining.

Tomorrow, Saints return to league action when they entertain Earlswood Town.

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