Sports remain four points off the top of the Southern League Premier Division Central after leaders Coalville were beaten at title favourites Banbury United, but three defeats in their last four matches is a worrying, and unusual, statistic for the city side.
It finished 3-1 to Alvechurch - who also won 1-0 at Sports recently - but Dean’s men were ahead and the better side when former Peterborough United player Nicholson, who had opened the scoring, was forced out of the game just before half-time. The hosts equalised almost immediately and took charge of the contest in the second-half.
Dean accepted there was no malice in the challenge that caused Nicholson’s agony, but the failure to punish the challenge with a free kick mystified the manager.
“Jordan was about to shoot and the defender has slid in to try and stop him,” Dean said. “I can’t blame the defender, but the referee failing to award a free kick was incredible and because the game went on we couldn’t get straight onto the field to look after Jordan.
“We had been the better side up to that point, but they equalised before half-time and we made a horrible mistake straight after the re-start to gift them the lead. They are a good side though and they played well in the second-half.
“It’s the way things are going for us right now. I can’t remember the last time we lost two games in a row, but the effort from the players was first class yesterday and if we keep that up I have no doubt we have the quality to cover for Jordan.
“It won’t be easy as he’s been our best player this season. In fact when he’s been fit I haven’t seen a better player in the league.”
Sports are next in action at home to next-to-bottom Nuneaton next Saturday (December 18) before a huge game against Banbury at the Bee Arena on Tuesday, December 21, 7.45pm).
Only one team will be automatically promoted this season with teams finishing second to fifth entering the play-offs. Sports are 11 points clear of sixth-placed Leiston.