ALTON’S indifferent start to the Sydenhams League Division One season continued last Friday with another mixed performance that left the Brewers regretting missed chances, while defensive mistakes at the other end were punished.

Alton took the lead rather against the run of play, a flowing move down the right ending with Steve Black crossing for Matt Bunyan to play a delightful ball into the path of Max Smith who buried his shot in the corner of the net.

The home team were in the ascendancy and should have doubled their lead when Marcus Cousins beat the offside trap and lobbed the onrushing Will Barnett, only to see the ball drift the wrong side of the post.

Whitchurch then upped the ante and equalised from a corner. Matt Petts did well to get a hand to the shot from Josh Jellis, but couldn’t keep it out.

Alton were unlucky not to get a penalty when Cousins seemed to be shoved inside the area. Almost immediately, Whitchurch snatched the lead. Petts could only parry George Butler’s shot and Nick Yeomans was on hand to put away the loose ball.

Worse was to follow for the Brewers as Reece Colbourne was adjudged to have fouled his man and Yeomans converted the penalty. Petts then foiled Jellis in a one-on-one to deny Whitchurch a fourth before half-time.

It became a physical battle in the second half as a feisty Whitchurch sat on their lead. But it was Alton reduced to ten men when Colbourne was shown a soft second yellow card.

The depleted Brewers changed their shape and should have reduced the deficit. Bunyan somehow screwed his shot wide after latching onto Burch’s cross. Then Bunyan set up Cousins who slipped on the wet 3G surface.

Only ten minutes remained when George Spiers broke out of defence and, with team-mates calling for a pass, went all the way himself, sliding the ball under Barnett to make it 3-2.

Try as they might, the equaliser wouldn’t come and Alton suffered their third defeat in four games.

Alton travel to US Portsmouth on Saturday, hoping to have lady luck more on their side.

Alton 1, Laverstock & Ford 0. Alton finally got their season up and running on Tuesday, Callum Burch scoring the second-half goal that gave them all three points and a first clean sheet of the campaign. It was a strong all-round performance and, once again, had Alton been more clinical in front of goal, the margin would have been much higher.