ALRESFORD Town made it through to the preliminary round of the FA Cup with a stirring victory at Christchurch’s Hurn Bridge HQ.
The two sides had fought out a 1-1 draw at Alresford on the Saturday - Jack Hoey’s 85th minute strike cancelling out Mark Smith’s early penalty.
This time Hoey went one better by bagging a double against his old club. Liam Magee got the Magpies’ other goal, while Jack Lovell replied for Christchurch.
There was little to choose between two young, inexperienced sides during the initial sparring in the replay – as was also the case in the first match.
But Hoey broke the deadlock on eight minutes, getting above his marker to head home Carl Steadman’s left-wing corner.
The Magpies seemed to grow in confidence after scoring. Cellyn Crook, deputising for the holidaying Jamie Bentley in central defence, showed his quality with excellent positioning and some timely clearances.
In midfield Harry Draycott broke up opposition attacks and impressed with his short passing. Further forward, Magee looked to join in with Hoey and Scott Hills, who foraged selflessly.
Christchurch still posed a threat, particularly when attacking from the wide positions. On 25 minutes they equalised when Lovell met a cross from the right and directed a perfect flicked header past Jarid Hixon in the Magpies’ goal.
It was a point well made the Christchurch striker who, when playing for Verwood last season, had been sent off for a high kick on Hixon.
Alresford had the better of the chances in the latter part of the first half, Craig Bryant heading just over the bar and Hills firing high and wide after latching onto a long pass through the middle.
The Magpies regained the lead on 50 minutes. A slick passing change through the middle saw Magee make himself a little space on the edge of the home box, and he slotted the ball safely under the diving Jamie Bray.
Christchurch rolled up their sleeves and upped the tempo. A spell of pressure ended with Hixon saving low from Marcus Cullen. Then, the keeper had to dive at the feet of both Lovell and Cullen in quick succession. Alresford survived vociferous appeals for a penalty.
The visitors needed a third goal to give them breathing space. They got it on 85 minutes when the tireless Draycott won the ball in midfield and passed forward to Hoey. The striker, in a little space, fired emphatically home to ensure that the visitors were able to endure the hosts’ inevitable late onslaught with confidence.
Alresford’s reward is a home tie against Sherborne Town of the Toolstation Western Premier Division on Saturday, August 30.