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Time to give Corbett another opportunity?
9:30am Wednesday 22nd February 2012 in Steve Carley By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WHEN it comes to scoring goals, Mike Symons has been a revelation for Worcester City.
Just over two-thirds of the way through the campaign and the striker has 15 goals to his name, 14 of which have come in Blue Square Bet North.
He has accounted for nearly a third of City’s strikes in the league and is one of the major reasons the St George’s Lane club have enjoyed their best season for a long while.
Now, to suggest City are a one-man team wouldn’t be fair, but they are certainly overly reliant on the former Gloucester hitman and the stats prove it.
Barring Tom Thorley’s penalty in the 1-1 draw against Histon, Symons is the only City player to have found the net in 2012.
When he doesn’t find the target, there is a distinct lack of support to take the weight off his shoulders.
The 25-year-old hasn’t scored for four games and City have drawn a blank in three of them, against Solihull Moors last Saturday, Colwyn Bay and Workington.
Although by no means a crisis — Worcester are still ninth in the table — the situation must be giving cause for concern.
The problem is that City can’t seem to decide who is the best player to work alongside Symons in their preferred 4-4-2 system.
“I think it’s fair to say we are still trying to find that ideal partner, it’s not been that straightforward,” admitted manager Carl Heeley after the Solihull stalemate.
“We’ve tried Simon Brown, Danny Carey-Bertram and Michael Taylor and they’ve all found goals hard to come by. We are trying to get that player to link things up and get the ball out wide.”
Brown has managed five goals from 16 appearances, while Carey-Bertram has two from 20, including 13 starts. Interestingly, as an aside, City won three of the four games when those two started together while Symons was injured.
Matt Birley has gleaned three goals from 18 starts, but has largely been used with Symons when City have played three up-front, and Taylor is best when deployed as an impact sub.
New signing Phil Green was the latest to audition at Damson Park last Saturday but it is difficult to judge him on one game.
City are certainly not short of options yet there is another — a player not currently at the club who has disappeared off the radar.
Luke Corbett was heralded for his goalscoring prowess when he signed for his home-town team in the summer but was sent to Leamington on loan in December and has not been heard of since.
It is not clear exactly what has gone wrong and he has not set the world alight since going back to his former club but his stats, no matter how brief, mark him out as the best foil for Symons.
Corbett, the club’s joint-second top-scorer with Brown on five goals, netted in three of five starts alongside his fellow forward, including in back-to-back victories over Blyth and Harrogate in October. Indeed, Symons looked comfortable with Corbett by his side.
The 27-year-old, though, managed just two starts after that and a return from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division Brakes doesn’t look on the cards, not any time soon at least.
Why not give him a second chance?
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