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Devaney goal virtually secures City's league status
MARTIN Devaney’s free-kick gave Worcester City the double over Barrow and virtually secured their status in Skrill North for another season.
The former Kidderminster Harriers winger fired home his first goal for the Blue and Whites 17 minutes from time.
It gave City their second victory over the Cumbrians in a month following their 1-0 triumph at Holker Street on March 8.
Crucially, it moved Carl Heeley’s team on to 46 points with just four games left, a total that only one of the bottom three, Stalybridge Celtic, can now overhaul with five wins from five fixtures.
The Aggborough contest was played in front of a crowd of just 314, City’s lowest attendance of the season.
With Wayne Thomas away on business in Holland, Shabir Khan made his first start at centre-half since the 6-1 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue on January 4.
The injury-ravaged defender performed admirably but picked up a knock 15 minutes from time and was replaced by teenager Josh Smith.
Aaron Brown was missing because of a family funeral in Jamaica, meaning Ebby Nelson-Addy was restored to the starting line-up.
There was also a place on the bench for winger Danny Edwards, who has not played a league game for City in more than a year following knee surgery.
The hosts fashioned the first chance with Aaron Williams sending an effort wide from just outside the box.
Soon after, Ethan Moore helped the ball on into the area for Devaney but keeper Tony McMillan was out to smother.
City continued to dominate but Barrow carried a threat on the break and gradually wrestled their way back into the contest.
Following a headed clearance from Shabir, the ball dropped to Richard Davies 20 yards out and he thumped an effort inches over.
Davies then had his name taken by referee Sian Massey for a scything challenge on Nelson-Addy.
The game sprang into life seven minutes before the break with Leigh Bedwell producing a superb save to deny Gareth Arnison’s low drive.
The City keeper got down to stick out an arm and push the ball against the post before gladly clutching the rebound.
Almost immediately, City broke upfield and Moore was denied by the advancing McMillan with Daniel Nti’s rebound being hacked off the line by Andy Burns.
Moments later, McMillan was at full stretch to claw Nti’s effort round the post as the hosts finished the half on top.
On 73 minutes, Worcester finally broke the deadlock.
Devaney lined up a free-kick on the left of the box and smashed the ball through a congested area and into the far corner without anybody else getting a touch.
Barrow piled forward in search of an equaliser as the game wore on but City stood firm and saw out the victory.
City: Bedwell 7, G Williams 7, Weir 8, Hutchison 8, Shabir 8 (J Smith 76), Nelson-Addy 7, Nti 7 (Farrell 90+1), Deeney 7, Moore 7, Devaney 8*, A Williams 7. Subs not used: Aloi, Edwards, Veiga.