Below-par City lose at Leamington

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(5172807)

First published in Sport

AS Worcester City matches go, this one won’t live long in the memory.

Not too many times have the Blue and Whites produced a poor showing in 2014 but this was certainly one of those occasions.

A week after running Histon ragged and only having a point to show for their efforts, Carl Heeley’s side were the polar opposite at the New Windmill Ground.

They were second best to Leamington for virtually the entire contest and only came to life in the closing stages.

But for two superb Tony Breeden saves in stoppage-time to deny Aaron Brown’s free-kick and the same player from point-blank range, City would have again left with a point, although it would scarcely have been deserved.

The hosts carried a much greater threat throughout and Lee Chilton’s eighth-minute strike was entirely in keeping with their dominance.

More could, and perhaps should, have followed but a mixture of poor finishing and some smart saves from Leigh Bedwell ensured one goal was enough for the Brakes.

Leamington, for whom Reece Flanagan ran the show, made the most of a swirling wind in the first-half, something City didn’t when it was in their favour after the break.

Worcester were often guilty of uncharacteristically sloppy passing, Ellis Deeney and Aaron Williams in particular, the latter withdrawn in favour of Ebby Nelson-Addy at the interval following an ineffectual 45 minutes.

Striker Ethan Moore seemed to spend most of his time isolated down the left flank rather than hassling the last defender through the middle.

In all, City just didn’t look their usual confident selves. Even man-mountain centre-half Wayne Thomas found himself hustled into errors, while frustration levels increased for the visitors as the game wore on.

This was not what we have come to expect from a team who have been one of the Skrill North success stories in the first three months of the year.

Being wasteful in front of goal and losing the ball cheaply in midfield was something Worcester used to do. Perhaps it is a sign of how much they have improved that Saturday was such a shock to the system.

Manager Carl Heeley had said prior to the fixture that motivation would not be a problem for his side in the final six matches of the season.

Although it would be going too far to suggest they weren’t up for this match, there were signs of end-of-season syndrome.

City may not be mathematically safe from the drop yet but they know it’s a long shot given their position in the table, Workington being cut adrift and Vauxhall Motors taking another relegation spot through resignation.

It is important that Worcester don’t run the risk of tarnishing a magnificent second half of the campaign by fizzling out over the last five games.

Bettering last season’s total of 50 points is still a realistic target, starting against Barrow at Aggborough tomorrow night.

That is a chance to quickly erase the Leamington match from the memory banks.

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