ALVECHURCH boss Ian Long left nothing to chance last Saturday when he discovered their proposed Northern Premier League game at Chasetown was subject to a late morning pitch inspection.

Long said: "I was informed at 11am that there was going to be a pitch inspection in half-an-hour's time.

"So I jumped into my car and drove to the ground. I got there in 20 minutes, so I could get into the ear of the referee.

"But first I helped them push the burger bar van out of the mud.

"Then I got my fork from out the back of the car and helped Chasetown's groundstaff work on the pitch. I've never been so popular, especially when you consider my connections with their great rivals Rushall Olympic.

"I told the ref we'd played in far worse conditions in our previous game against Romulus and it seemed to work.

"I was desperate for the game to go ahead as we've fallen behind with our fixtures. We couldn't afford to lose another one."

Long's endeavours were rewarded as Church claimed a 1-0 win - but they left it late, Josh March pouncing from close range on 87 minutes to clinch the points.

Church had ridden their luck earlier when Chasetown hit a penalty against the crossbar.

Long added: "We played well and deserved the win. But there's a lot more goals in us at the moment and some side is going to be on the receiving end soon.

"The goal itself against Chasetown took an eternity to go into the net.

"Chasetown's goalkeeper had parried the ball out to where both Josh March and Jamie Willetts were waiting.

"Either one of them could have scored it, but Josh wasn't going to miss up an opportunity like that and would have shoved Jamie out of the way if need be, although it did take forever before the ball went over the line".

Church entertain Belper Town this Saturday, a team they have already beaten twice this season but Long warned: "It's a game we simply have to win. We're on a good run of form at the moment having gone 10 league games unbeaten, winning eight of them in the process.

"Yet the teams around us are also picking up points but they all play each other this weekend, so Saturday's game presents a big opportunity. "

Long will look to keep his players on their toes with a midweek friendly against West Midlands League side Wednesfield.