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Worcester City 3 Boston United 0
5:30pm Sunday 4th March 2012 in Skrill Conference North Table & Results By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
MARCH is set to be a defining month in Worcester City’s season and they have started it in emphatic fashion.
With games coming up against their play-off rivals, the next few weeks is make or break as far as their top-five ambitions go.
So, what better way than to signal your intent than by trouncing one your contenders with your best home display of the season?
It’s one thing beating Blyth Spartans, bottom of the league and heading for relegation, but quite another to see off one of the in-form teams with ease.
Boston, who had kept back-to-back clean sheets prior to kick-off, are significantly better than Blyth yet City made them look ordinary as they put them to the sword.
They scored three goals — through Rob Elvins, Matt Birley and Tom Thorley — and would have doubled that tally but for the woodwork and the heroics of veteran keeper Paul Bastock.
The visitors had no answer to City’s pace and flare, eventually reduced to cynical fouls as their frustrations took hold.
Yet, for all their flamboyancy in making it eight home wins this season, the hosts were mindful of how different it could have been.
Only six minutes had elapsed when Matt Sargeant threw his arms skyward to tip Ben Fairclough’s point-blank header over the bar when Boston seemed certain to take the lead.
It is no exaggeration to suggest there won’t be a better save at the Lane all season and Sargeant’s acrobatics were pivotal as City, now unbeaten in five, never looked back.
Tormentor-in-chief Greg Mills showed exactly why manager Carl Heeley recruited him as time and again the winger left defenders in his wake getting to the by-line.
He also provided the inviting free-kick which Elvins turned home at the far post to give City a ninth-minute lead.
In Michael Taylor, who kept his place in an unchanged team after terrorising Blyth last week, Worcester had another player Boston could not contain.
The striker was constantly breathing down the neck of the last defender and the only thing missing from his display, curtailed by an ankle injury, was a goal.
He came close on several occasions, including his 29th-minute dribble which saw Bastock flick the ball off his toe at the vital moment only for Birley to sweep home from close range.
Taylor was also at the heart of his side’s third six minutes into the second-half.
This time he wriggled into the Boston area before being dragged back by Nathan Stainfield for the penalty which Thorley coolly dispatched.
It was another consummate display from Thorley, the midfielder once again orchestrating proceedings and linking play from back to front.
All this was built on a defence that held firm for City’s third clean sheet in five matches, further justification of the changes made in recent weeks.
Full-backs Tyler Weir and Ellis Deeney appear to be growing in confidence every game, while Jacob Rowe’s physicality is the perfect foil to Elvins’ finesse at centre-half.
City, who head to the Pilgrims for the return fixture in three weeks time, have now laid down an impressive marker for the month ahead.
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