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Home win at last for Worcester City
10:24am Monday 17th December 2012 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER City’s long wait for a win on home soil is over after they got the better of play-off rivals Bradford Park Avenue.
It seems like an eternity since City last tasted success at St George’s Lane — in fact it was three months to the day — but this was certainly worth the wait.
In deservedly beating the fourth-placed Yorkshiremen, Carl Heeley’s team stopped the rot and once again climbed into the Blue Square Bet North play-off zone.
Having gone five games without a victory, City desperately needed this triumph and the relief was there for all to see.
Bradford, who finished the match with nine men, were not as good as Chester or Guiseley, but perhaps more on a par with Halifax, and City knew they had to make their mark against a side also vying for a top-five place.
Jacob Rowe, with his second goal of the season, headed them into a 10th-minute lead after keeper Tom Deasy had flapped wildly in missing the flight of Greg Mills’ free-kick.
In-form Mills then scored his third in four games to seal the points 17 minutes from time, rounding the keeper after good work from substitute Danny Glover.
Disappointingly, there weren’t many inside the Lane to see either effort with the win coming in front of the lowest crowd of the season, no doubt impacted by Christmas shopping.
Going forward, Worcester created plenty of chances and were dogged as a defensive unit, backed up by some Matt Sargeant saves.
They rode their luck at times but also caused Bradford problems with their passing and willingness to work.
Both sides had their fair share of openings in an action-packed contest but Worcester, operating a flexible 4-3-3 system, took theirs when it mattered.
Other highlights included an excellent showing from on-loan Birmingham City centre-half Graham Hutchison who, having had his debut against Halifax cut short by concussion, completed a full-blooded 90 minutes alongside Rowe.
Striker Glover also made another appearance from the bench on his comeback from injury and laid on the second goal for Mills.
Bradford carried a threat throughout but blotted their copybook by being reduced to nine men following a mixture of stupidity and recklessness in the second-half.
Having already been cautioned for an off-the-ball push on Ellis Deeney just two minutes previously, striker Jordan Deacey deliberately stopped Tom Thorley from taking a free-kick and was shown a second yellow.
Nathan Hotte also got his marching orders in the 90th minute, receiving a straight red card for a late lunge on Mills which left the winger pole-axed on the ground.
Yet, until that point, it hadn’t been a dirty game and the high foul count owed more to the pendency of referee Simon Bennett than player temperament.
However, the outcome was not in doubt by the time of Hotte’s dismissal and City had the win that gives them the perfect platform for things to come.