Sydenhams Premier: Christchurch FC 1-1 Alresford Town
CHRISTCHURCH FC claimed a 1-1 draw at home to league leaders Alresford Town after goalkeeper Lewis Gunstone-Grey was sent off just 30 minutes in.
Jon Blake opened the scoring for Church, but they were pegged back by the Magpies when Lucas McCartney found the back of the net.
The game got off to a frantic pace, and Christchurch struck the first blow in the opening 15 minutes. Defender Blake put the ball over the line after a goalmouth scramble to give the hosts the lead.
However, their lead did not last long as McCartney’s long-range strike found the bottom of the corner for Alresford.
The complexion of the game changed when Christchurch keeper Gunstone-Grey was shown a straight red for a last-man foul outside of the box. Substitute keeper Max Frampton took over the gloves as Church reshuffled their formation.
The hosts, with just striker Kyle Graham leading the line, tried to stifle the visitors’ attacking power with a solid defence.
In the second half, chances were at a premium, and neither keeper was challenged for the most part.
Christchurch continued to hold their own as they looked to play on the counter-attack and take advantage of long-throw specialist Ron Frost, while Alresford lacked the cutting edge to break down the hosts’ defence.
Alresford keeper Fredericks was called into action several times as Church looked to grab a winner, while at the other end former Lymington forward Mike Gosney came closest for the visitors, however, he fired over from the edge of the box.
Neither side were able to claim a winner in the final minutes, and Christchurch took a well-deserved point.
Christchurch boss Ollie Cherrett was delighted with his side’s performance after the sending off. He told the A&T: “We had to change a few things but thought we were outstanding. The lads showed great character, togetherness and desire to keep the point.
“In the second half, I felt we deserved the three points and looked more likely to win the game.”
Despite their valiant efforts, Christchurch slip to fifth behind AFC Portchester and Hamble Club, while Alresford had their lead cut to six points at the top of the table.
Christchurch play Fawley AFC in the Russell Cotes Cup on Tuesday before returning to league action on the weekend against Bournemouth Poppies.