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Worcester City 1 Bradford Park Avenue 2
8:00pm Sunday 8th September 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
EVERYONE knew this would be a tough season for Worcester City.
A complete squad rebuild, no money and moving into Aggborough as Kidderminster Harriers’ tenants meant it was always going to provide a challenge.
Yet, before last Saturday’s visit of Bradford Park Avenue, Carl Heeley’s side could count themselves unfortunate to only have two points on the board.
They had taken on some of Skrill North’s supposedly better sides and more than matched them.
Many suspected their wait for that elusive victory would come against the Yorkshiremen, themselves winless from their first five fixtures.
City would certainly have targeted the game as the ideal opportunity to finally get three points in the bag.
But, disappointingly, things didn’t go to plan and, for the third time this season, Worcester found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline, courtesy of Steve Mallory’s decisive header four minutes from time.
They also chose the occasion to put in their worst performance of the campaign to date and, if truth be told, can have few complaints about the result.
There were still glimpses of the potential some of this squad undoubtedly possess — George Williams and Ethan Moore in particular on this evidence — but the cutting edge was missing.
As in previous Aggborough matches, City were out of the blocks like an express train yet began to falter once Bradford had taken a 19th-minute lead against the run of play through Paul Walker.
Worcester’s penchant for conceding soft goals returned, this time the defence caught cold on the break and, despite the efforts of Williams, Walker swept the loose ball past Jose Veiga.
Having started the game so brightly, Worcester were fortunate not to be further adrift at the break after James Knowles headed wide and Alex Davidson struck the post, the latter after new signing Exodus Geohaghon had cheaply conceded possession.
For all his experience, the towering Geohaghon looked like a centre-half who had not played for a while, likewise fellow new recruit Nathan Rooney in the number 10 shirt.
City’s equaliser owed much to the efforts of jack-in-the-box forward Danny Glover down the left as he dug out a cross and Moore arrived in the six-yard box to convert it.
The lack of a win for either side prior to kick-off began to manifest itself as the game progressed with neither seemingly able to go for the jugular.
Worcester’s cause was not helped by centre-half Graham Hutchison, already playing with a broken nose and having been denied by a combination of keeper John Lamb and crossbar in the first-half, going off with a calf strain to add to their defensive woes.
That situation was compounded in the 86th minute when Walker delivered a corner from the left and Mallory glanced the ball beyond Veiga.
The search for a win goes on.