by Nick Pullen

IMPRESSIVE Alvechurch have climbed to the dizzy heights of sixth spot in the Southern League Central Premier Division after securing a 2-1 success over St Ives this week.

Goals either side of half time from Mitch Botfield and Jamie Willetts sealed the points before St Ives snapped up a stoppage time consolation through Mark Coulson.

Although annoyed at conceding so late, Church boss Ian Long quipped: "At least it saved me from paying out for a clean sheet bonus!

Long revealed: "Two weeks ago, I was looking at our fixtures and wondering where the next points were coming from. But no-one is getting carried away. We've got 16 points so far and all I'm looking for at the moment is another 24 to make sure we're safe.

"The league is very tight at the moment and it would only take a few points to move from one end to the other.

"But I did take the trouble to get a photograph of the league table and send it to my mate Ian Rowe at Sporting Khalsa - you never know, we might not be in this position again!

Long confirmed: "We were the better side against St Ives over the 90 minutes, which was especially pleasing as we were missing several players.

"I was down to the bare 16, then Luke Yates goes down ill on the morning of the game.

"I already had Dan O'Callaghan on the bench, but he was never going to play owing to a hamstring injury, so I had to bring in Paul Henley just to make the bench up.

"Paul has been training with us recently and should come more into the picture from now on".

It hasn't helped that Aaron Birch has left the club while Andy Parsons switched to join local rivals Redditch United in midweek.

Long confirmed: " We need to increase the squad and we're definitely looking at bringing in another central defender.

"Mark Smith, who was previously with Worcester City, has also been training with us and will start coming into our plans as well".

Church were due to face Stratford Town in the League Cup this week before travelling to bottom of the table Bedworth United on Saturday.

But Long warned: "Bedworth are better than their position suggests and they will pick up a win sooner or later. We just have to make sure it's not against us".