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Chances go begging for Worcester City again
7:24pm Sunday 29th December 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
DEFEAT to arch-rivals Gloucester City ensured Worcester City will begin 2014 in the Skrill North relegation zone.
It is a position with which the Blue and Whites are becoming increasingly familiar with half the season now gone.
They have seldom been away from the bottom three all term and face a struggle in their bid to avoid being in that group come the end of April.
Despite showing glimpses of their potential at times during the campaign, there is a frustrating inconsistency about City.
Capable of competing with the top teams, as they proved by beating Harrogate Town and drawing at Solihull Moors, yet also prone to results like this one against Gloucester at Aggborough.
It was their sixth home league defeat of the season and contained further evidence, as if it was needed, of why Worcester find themselves in a relegation scrap.
While the performance was not the worst, City’s inability to score goals was painfully exposed with a catalogue of wayward finishing.
They created the openings, particularly in the second-half, but never really looked like getting back on level terms.
Indeed, keeper Mike Green needn’t have been on the pitch after the break such was the accuracy of the hosts’ shooting, with man-of-the-moment Ethan Moore, Daniel Nti and Ebby Nelson-Addy all squandering good opportunities.
Carl Heeley’s team have scored only 16 goals in 21 league games so far, four less than next worst Barrow and 13 fewer than Gloucester City, who are just a place above them in the table. Worcester City have yet to win a game in which they have conceded the first goal.
They managed to force an equaliser against new league leaders Solihull on Boxing Day, courtesy of Moore’s ninth goal of the campaign, but couldn’t repeat the feat against the Tigers once Connor Waldon had struck.
Worcester have comfortably the best defensive record of the teams around them and plenty of fighting spirit — sometimes too much as players from both sides squared up — but eventually they will have to start scoring more goals.
Their cause was not helped by yet more poor set-piece deliveries from stand-in skipper Ellis Deeney, Richard Taundry and substitute Steven Leslie, something that has become a trend in recent weeks.
Of City’s 11 corners, compared to just three for the visitors, the majority failed to find a home shirt and none resulted in a shot on target.
That won’t have been lost on either manager Heeley or assistant Matt Gardiner but improving the situation is not straightforward.
City don’t have the money to spend their way out of the problem but there is a feeling the answer lies within the squad. Now is the time to find it.