Church defeated ahead of relegation derby clash

Christchurch FC lost 3-2 to Alton FC in the Wessex Premier Division leaving next week's tie with local rivals Bournemouth crucial in the fight for survival.

Relegation threatened Christchurch FC's chances of survival took another blow as they fell victim to a 3-2 defeat to Alton FC setting up a relegation six-pointer against local rivals Bournemouth FC next week.

Goals from Liam Knight and Mathew and Oliver Graham ensured Church tasted defeat despite a brace from Eder Batista for the home side.

Christchurh's five game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end and now leaves the team six points clear of fellow strugglers Bournemouth having played two more games then their neighbours.

This now means next Tuesday's (January 25) game between the two Dorset clubs could be crucial in who stays up with both teams fighting to avoid the drop. Poppies currently sit in the releagtion zone but wins in both of their two games in hand, plus victory over Christchurch, would see the Winton-based club leapfrog their rivals and place Christchurch in the final relegation spot.

Both sides have had a torrid time this season and at this stage of the campaign it seesm likely that one of the two sides will fall into Division One with Amesbury and Hythe & Dibden languishing on five and four points respectivly and al but doomed to their fate.

Portland United and Cowes Sports are five and six points clear of Christchurch and could yet be dragged into the relegation fight, but next week's derby clash is now vital for both Church and Poppies as they seek to rescue their season's and remain in the Wessex League's top flight.

Christchurch's recent good form prior to last night's defeat means they have the momentum with Poppies losing four out the last six games, but Bournemouth will seek to reduce the gap to three points on Saturday as they host Cowes Sports - another bottom of the table clash.

As is often the way with games of this magnitude, form may go out of the window  but one thing is for sure, whoever wins next week's game at Hurn bridge could well be in the driving seat to escape the drop.

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