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Solid City need to show more on road
6:34pm Sunday 20th October 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER City might not win many games on their travels but they don’t lose many either.
Now more than a quarter of the way through the campaign and City are yet to win a single match away from Aggborough in Skrill North.
Remarkably, the FA Cup third qualifying round replay victory at Rugby Town was the first time they had tasted success of any kind on the road this season.
Prior to that they had lost at Stockport County, Boston United and Gloucester City, shipping eight goals in those three games.
However, following their visit to Oxford City, they have now picked up four draws and with it four valuable points.
Incredibly, each of those have ended in 0-0 deadlocks — the others coming at Brackley Town, Colwyn Bay and Telford United. That’s some statistic.
It just shows that when City get it right, they are well organised and a tricky side to break down.
But it also shows that they are struggling to put the ball in the net away from home, with solitary strikes against Boston and Gloucester their only successes in Skrill North.
While their failure to score is one of the chief reasons they are fourth-bottom in the table, and must be a concern, if they’re not conceding then they are guaranteed at least a point.
Saturday’s stalemate at Court Farm Place was a case in point. Defensively, Worcester were solid and had an answer to anything posed by the hosts.
In Graham Hutchison and Richard Munday they had two centre-halves skilled in the art of defending.
They were strong and uncompromising, won every challenge and covered for each other throughout.
Not once did Oxford seriously threaten them from open play, with Tom Winters’ second-half free-kick, which was superbly saved by Jose Veiga, the hosts’ best chance.
With a four-man midfield, in which captain Tom Thorley was excellent on the left, there was no easy avenue to goal and hosts Oxford often resorted to the long ball tactic, a ploy gobbled up by Munday and Hutchison.
Carl Heeley’s side also had the lion’s share of possession yet, for all their neat football, lacked an end product.
In a low-on-entertainment first-half, they kept the ball with aplomb but home keeper Victor Francoz was a virtual spectator.
Oxford, despite being second best, had the better openings through Steve Basham and Winters.
Worcester upped the pace after the break and Danny Glover forced a save from Francoz with City’s only shot on target in the game, before volleying wide from a good position.
In the end, the visitors were worthy of their point but their overall play deserved better.
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