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New-look City are finding their feet
8:00pm Sunday 25th August 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER City finally gained some reward for their promising early-season play with a deserved point at Brackley.
City have performed well in patches so far this term but have come out of games against Altrincham and Gloucester City with nothing to show for their efforts.
The encouraging display of the first-half on the opening day counted for little after Altrincham seized control and ran out comfortable winners.
Similarly, Worcester more than matched M5 rivals Gloucester in last Tuesday’s feisty derby but were unable to fashion an equaliser having played themselves back into the contest.
On each occasion, City’s new-look side demonstrated both their potential and inexperience as they continue to find their feet as a team.
That mix faced another stern examination in the form of Brackley and City passed it with flying colours at St James Park.
Picking up a point at a team who had won their first two games and are among the favourites for promotion after reaching last season’s play-off final was no mean feat.
Yet Worcester stood shoulder to shoulder with their opponents to produce the sort of battling display that could be the making of their youthful side.
They rode their luck at times, and had to weather several storms from the hosts, but they were never overpowered and finished on the front foot.
It was built on the solid foundation of keeper Jose Veiga, drafted into the team from Tamworth and whose 36 years were a calming influence on the significantly younger players around him. Veiga was outstanding throughout, commanding his area with authority and standing firm on the occasions the visitors’ defence was breached.
Pick of the bunch was a fine double second-half save to thwart first Greg Kaziboni and then flinging himself on to Gary Mulligan’s rebound.
Prior to that, Veiga had also held on to shots from Izak Reid, at the second attempt, and Kaziboni again.
Brackley created more openings than City but they were continually repelled by a mixture of robust and last-ditch defending and the visitors grew in confidence.
Although it took them until well past the hour mark to register their first shot on target through Luke Hubbins, Carl Heeley’s side carried a threat Brackley could not ignore.
On the break, Hubbins, Ebby Nelson-Addy, starting his first game of the season in place of Ashley Sammons, and Aaron Williams provided support for Danny Glover, the most advanced of City’s forwards, until Williams hobbled off injured.
Captain Tom Thorley was always in the thick of the action and centre-half Richard Munday again used his physical presence at set-pieces to head over late on as Worcester tried to snatch victory.
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