Alton manager Kevin Adair was pleased to see his side return to winning ways as they comfortably won 4-0 against Colliers Wood United at Anstey Park in the Combined Counties Premier Division South on Saturday afternoon.
Centre-half Adam Brice helped himself to a first-half hat-trick to effectively seal the three points, before substitute Evan Anderson added a fourth in the second half.
All three of Brice’s goals came from corners. The first arrived on five minutes when he poked home from close range after the visiting keeper had somehow clawed away the initial header.
Brice scored his second on 18 minutes when the ball fell to him eight yards out and he slammed it home.
He completed his hat-trick on 45 minutes with a clever header into the far corner.
The second half was a cagey affair. Alton were content to let the visitors have decent possession of the ball without allowing them to threaten the home goal, and with the game secure the Brewers took the opportunity to use all of the substitutes available to them.
The fresh legs turned the screw and Alton threatened a fourth at regular intervals.
The icing on the cake came on 86 minutes when Anderson was put through on goal.
He rounded the advancing keeper, and with two defenders retreating at pace he stopped his momentum – allowing them both to dive in and sail past him – before he coolly walked the ball into the empty net.
At no time throughout the 90 minutes did Colliers Wood’s young squad capitulate. They played some attractive football when they could, worked hard throughout and will hope to have better days.
Nevertheless, Alton were very solid, dictated the game and were clinical and disciplined – and Adair was delighted with his side’s efforts.
“We had some of our experienced lads back to complement the youngsters – and I think that showed against a young side,” he said.
“You ideally want two or three youngsters starting alongside experienced lads, and we had that good balance.
“The result was a very good performance and a deserved three points.
“At 3-0 up at half-time we were able to make some substitutions in the second half to give people minutes and give other lads a rest.
“Young Evan Anderson came on and got his goal, Matt Francis – who is only 19 – came on and young Ollie Kavanagh came on.
“Owen Lumsden came off the bench and we also got new signing Alex Merrifield on – it was good to get him on.”
Saturday’s impressive victory followed a narrow 2-1 defeat for the Brewers at high-flying Knaphill in the Combined Counties Premier Division South last Tuesday night (October 24).
Jake Hawker gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, but Louis Russell swiftly equalised for Alton on 18 minutes.
Tom Drinkwater’s goal in the 68th minute sealed the three points for the hosts.
Adair was happy with his side’s performance on the night, but was frustrated with some of the decisions by the match officials.
“The penalty was never a penalty,” he said.
“We reacted well and got back on level terms, but key decisions went against us.”
Next up for the Brewers is a home game against Fleet Town in the Combined Counties Premier Division South on Saturday (3pm), and Adair hopes his side can continue their momentum from the win against Colliers Wood.
“We want to take the momentum from Saturday into the Fleet game,” he said.
“Given all the weather that is around we might be one of only a handful of games on.
“It’s a local derby and it promises to be a competitive game of football which will probably be decided by a moment of brilliance or a mistake. We hope we can have the moment of brilliance.”