I'm sure someone will correct me on this but, from what I can see, two teams have won the cup four times, Stoke Works (1958, 1962, 1967, 1968) an Studley BKL (1991, 1992, 1995, 2000), although I am not convinced that my list of winners is complete. Possibly the most interesting name I could find as a previous winner was Roma, three times winners (1976,77 & 78). Presumably this is not the same Roma for whom Francesco Totti was later to star for.
Kenilworth Sporting play their home games at Gypsy Lane. The ground, which had apparently fallen into disrepair, was given a complete overhaul starting in 2018 and, although I didn't see what it looked like before first-hand (but I have seen some photos), it appears that a fantastic job has been done. Gypsy Lane is a narrow, bumpy track that leads to some allotments. It's easy to miss the turn-off from Rouncil Lane but the club does have a sign up, so look out for that. There is a small car park and some off road parking next to the ground. There are no turnstiles, instead access to the ground is through the large and new clubhouse where you pay your entrance before exiting onto the patio area which sits between the club and the back of one of the goals. The main covered seating stand is on the left as you enter. There is a smaller stand on the opposite side of the ground, but this has been commandeered by the teams as their dugouts which quite an innovative idea and, as it happened, much needed cover later in the game when the rain became quite heavy.
Kenilworth Sporting's history is quite interesting and complicated. The club began in 1936 as Kenilworth Town playing local football in the Coventry & District League. This name lasted for around 20 years before they became Kenilworth Rangers, before reverting back to Town in 1992. They added KH to their name in 2006, being known as Kenilworth Town KH and eventually gaining promotion to The Midlands Combination Division 1 before folding in 2011. Anyone care to tell me what the KH stood for? There was a brief resurrection in 2013, but it didn't last long before the club folded once more. When the renovation of Gypsy Lane was undertaken in 2018 the side played under the name Coventry Plumbing from 2018 through to 2020, when the name was changed to Kenilworth Sporting. The club was moved from Division 3 into Division 2 at the end of the truncated season last year, despite only playing 8 games (of which they won 7).
Alcester Town played in the Midland Combination from 1965 - 1993 and then came back into the same structure from the Stratford Alliance League in 2012. Won Midland League Division 3 in 2019 despite having 3 points deducted.
This season the sides met once already, in a late September league game at Alcester's Stratford Road Ground. Owen Ward scored for Alcester but was then sent off. Goals from David Gbehe and Jack Low secured the points for Sporting with a 2-1 win. The sides are currently just one place apart in the league, Sporting in fifth spot and Alcester in sixth, although Kenilworth do have a five point advantage over tonight's visitors.
We were barely 5 minutes into the game when Umit Eminoglu tried to weave his way into the home penalty area and was caught by a stray Sporting foot, sending the Town player sprawling and the referee pointing to the spot. Eminoglu got up and took the kick himself, blasting the ball high to the keeper's right. 0-1
Sporting tried to get themselves back into the game, David Gbehe putting a shot narrowly wide, before Alcester began to take control of the game. Just past the 20 minute mark, after Kenilworth lost the ball in midfield, Dan Elwell was given the ball on the edge of the area. After adjusting his footing and body shape he proceeded to curl a superb effort past the keeper's outstretched left hand. 0-2.
Six minutes later Terrance Morton took up the baton for the goal of the game competition, turning sharply on the edge of the box and then placing a magnificent shot into the far corner via the underside of the bar. 0-3
The away side were now rampant and Sporting were really struggling to cope with the trickery, pace and passing of the Alcester forwards and midfielders. After 34 minutes three became four. Eminoglu the provider this time, showing incredible vision to pick out the perfect ball to Reece Hewitt inside the home penalty area. The striker made no mistake, stroking the ball past the keeper. 0-4. I was still in the process of tweeting the fourth goal when Alcester made it five. Streaming forward again they forced a good save from the home keeper but he was powerless to prevent Dan Elwell from burying the rebound. 0-5.
HT Kenilworth Sporting 0 Alcester Town 5. Sporting had no answer to the Alcester forward line who were superb in their movement and finishing.
With 70 minutes on the clock the home crowd starting to ask "Could the fightback be on?" Another home raid forced a good save from The Romans' keeper but Connor Mack was on hand to follow up. The keeper once again repelled the effort but the ball fell straight back to Mack who made no mistake this time. 2-5. Four minutes later Alcester nerves were really showing when a cross-field pass was misplaced but fell kindly to Gbehe. He used his pace to outstrip the defenders before slotting home his second and Sporting's third. 3-5.
It was all Sporting now, in much the same way that the visitors had dominated the first period at times, Sporting were now well on top, as the rain started to come down heavier. The question was, had they left it too late? In the end, that question was irrelevant as a long clearance from Alcester was latched onto by Eminoglu. He held off the challenge of a defender and just about managed to flick the ball over the onrushing keeper before they collided, sending the ball into the empty net. 3-6 and no more than 10 minutes left. The end of the road for the home side.
FT Kenilworth Sporting 3 Alcester Town 6. A great effort from the home side in the second half after being absolutely swamped in the first 45 minutes. Not sure how much Alcester took their foot but credit to Sporting for their second half efforts. If Alcester had not got the sixth goal with about 10 minutes left, it could have got even more interesting. Both sides are back in league action on Saturday and both face tricky tests. Sporting are back at The Lane to take on table-toppers and league top scorers, Fairfield Villa, whilst Alcester travel to New Mill Lane to take on Coton Green who are currently in third place and unbeaten at home.
Ground Number: 287