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Vauxhall Motors 1 Worcester City 0
3:57pm Sunday 26th January 2014 in Sport
RIVACRE Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Worcester City, and so it proved once again.
Just once in their last eight visits have City returned with three points – back in 2010 - and they have left empty handed on their previous three trips to Merseyside.
Last season a 1-0 defeat was marred by an ankle injury to Ellis Deeney that brought a premature end to the former Aston Villa youth-team captain’s campaign.
This time around, the Blue and Whites were left fuming at the injustice of what they felt was a clear foul in the build-up to the hosts’ 78th-minute winner.
Shaun Tuck produced a neat finish to loft the ball over Jose Veiga but the visitors were incensed that referee Paul Graham had not penalised Huddersfield loanee Paul Mullin for barging Tyler Weir out of the way to enable Tuck to score.
It brought a miserable end to a thoroughly miserable match played in monsoon-like conditions from the first whistle.
Although the pitch held up remarkably well to the pre-match hailstorm and sporadic torrential rain, it made for a largely poor spectacle.
The wind was so strong that in the second-half Worcester’s defence were unable to launch the ball beyond the half-way line without it being buffeted back.
With all that in mind, both teams showed great resolve in attempting to play what football they could and put on a show for the sparse crowd that had bothered to venture out.
Of the few chances carved out, the best fell to Worcester with Aaron Williams, in the side despite illness, having an effort headed off the line, while Ebby Nelson-Addy was denied by keeper Zac Jones in the second period after being set free by Weir.
Defeat brought City’s three-match winning streak to a shuddering halt when they had looked like getting at least point.
Riding the crest of a wave following triumphs against Altrincham, Colwyn Bay and Histon, Worcester were looking for another win to put further pressure on their relegation rivals.
As it stands, while they remain three points above the bottom three, Oxford City and Gloucester both have games in hand.
But where Worcester perhaps have the edge in the survival battle is in their new-found belief. They might have lost to the Motormen but they were not disgraced.
The elements didn’t allow them to hit the heights they have in the previous three matches and on another day, lady luck might have been on their side.
At the turn of the year, knowing whether City would be on top of their game or decidedly average from match to match was almost guesswork.
On the evidence of the last four games, they will give teams plenty to think about as they bid to keep themselves in non-league’s second tier.