Alton manager Kevin Adair was delighted with his side after they beat Guildford City 3-2 in the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup on Saturday afternoon to pick up their first win of the season.
The visitors took an early lead when Emmanuel Acheampong poked home, but Alton levelled four minutes later when Owen Lumsden drove across the pitch and fired a shot into the top right-hand corner from 25 yards out.
The Brewers took the lead when George Bowerman wrong-footed two defenders and passed the ball into the net from 12 yards, but Ethan Cassie equalised for Guildford when he curled into the far corner from 20 yards as the sides went in level at the break at 2-2.
Alton were quick out of the traps in the second half, and Bowerman scored the winner in the 47th minute when he headed home from a corner from close range.
“We set up to impose our game on Guildford and take the game to them, and it worked,” said Adair. “We had chances to score more goals.
“We fell behind but we didn’t panic and soon equalised thanks to a brilliant strike from Owen – he was superb for us on Saturday.
“I was also pleased for George that he got his two goals. George has been with me here for many years and is really good at getting my messages across to new players.”
Adair is pleased with how his squad is shaping up at Anstey Park, and is looking forward to what the season has in store for his side.
“I’ve now got a group of 24 lads expecting to be in the first team – last year it was probably 16 or 17 expecting to be in the team with another seven or eight hoping to be,” he said.
“It’s a situation I’ve got to manage – but that is my job.
“There are many games in August so it shouldn’t be hard to keep everyone happy now as they will all get a chance. We’ve got a good group.”
Alton conceded two late goals to lose 2-0 at home to Jersey Bulls in the Combined Counties Premier Division South last Tuesday night.
The Brewers looked to be heading for a point against a Jersey side who are expected to challenge for promotion this season, until Fraser Barlow broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 85th minute.
Luke Watson made it 2-0 on 96 minutes to seal the three points for the visitors.
“We set up to be difficult to beat against Jersey and nearly got a point,” said Adair.
“For 85 minutes we were really good, but in fairness we did tire as the game wore on and Jersey got their goal.
“The 2-0 scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection on the game – we were pushing to try to get an equaliser and were caught out for the second goal.
“I’m sure Jersey will expect to be in the top three this season – if not the top two.”
Alton’s attention will turn towards the FA Vase on Saturday, when the Brewers will host Wessex League Division One outfit Newport (IoW) in the first round qualifying.
Adair is expecting a tough test against the Islanders.
“Two out of the three main sides on the Isle of Wight are usually strong, and I expect Newport to be strong,” he said.
Alton will then host Farnham Town in the Combined Counties Premier Division South in the A31 derby on bank holiday Monday (11.30am).
Last season’s two meetings produced a 2-2 draw at The Memorial Ground and a 1-1 draw at Anstey Park.
Farnham are aiming for promotion this season and have started their league campaign with three wins – and Adair is full of praise for Paul Johnson’s side.
“I think what they’re doing at Farnham is fantastic for the league and fantastic for the level,” said Adair.
“If you look at their squad it is full of quality – and they’ve started the season superbly. It obviously makes my job harder attracting players when they are just up the road from us.
“They obviously had a go last season but they didn’t quite get it right – but the management team they’ve now got in place there are quality and the players are quality.
“We drew twice against Farnham last season and arguably could have won both games. I’m sure there will be a big crowd for the game – it’s a match to look forward to and we’ll go out looking to win it.”