Time to give Corbett another opportunity?

Worcester News: FORGOTTEN MAN: City striker Luke Corbett. FORGOTTEN MAN: City striker Luke Corbett.

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?

Comments (6)

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9:51am Wed 22 Feb 12

Nigel Thornberry says...

Didn't Elvins used to be an attacking player. With City's recent defensive signings why not give him a go?
Didn't Elvins used to be an attacking player. With City's recent defensive signings why not give him a go? Nigel Thornberry
  • Score: 0

10:19am Wed 22 Feb 12

CityBlueBoy says...

Nigel,

Im sorry but.................
....I agree, Rob Elvins scored +10 in the Conference South season and was moved to the back four in our first year back in the North.

Now with Ayres, Clarke, Whitehead, Rowe, Weir, Deeney then I think we should give Rob the chance back up top.

Only problem is that with two 6ft+ strikers would we go back to the good old days of John Barton and do nothing but smack the ball up in the air to the front two, then again that could work in our favour with both players being good in the air !!
Nigel, Im sorry but................. ....I agree, Rob Elvins scored +10 in the Conference South season and was moved to the back four in our first year back in the North. Now with Ayres, Clarke, Whitehead, Rowe, Weir, Deeney then I think we should give Rob the chance back up top. Only problem is that with two 6ft+ strikers would we go back to the good old days of John Barton and do nothing but smack the ball up in the air to the front two, then again that could work in our favour with both players being good in the air !! CityBlueBoy
  • Score: 0

10:39am Wed 22 Feb 12

Nigel Thornberry says...

I think that with our current centre mids we probably wouldn't resort to such tactics. Even if we did, I'd be quite happy as long as they worked. As you say it isn't the defence that is the problem at the moment. It is the scoring goals.
With respect to Corbett I don't think he is ever going to be a 15 goal a season player. I know he scored a few at the start but (and correct me if I'm worng) from memory, a couple of those goals were penalties?
I think that with our current centre mids we probably wouldn't resort to such tactics. Even if we did, I'd be quite happy as long as they worked. As you say it isn't the defence that is the problem at the moment. It is the scoring goals. With respect to Corbett I don't think he is ever going to be a 15 goal a season player. I know he scored a few at the start but (and correct me if I'm worng) from memory, a couple of those goals were penalties? Nigel Thornberry
  • Score: 0

11:45am Wed 22 Feb 12

Andy (Ledbury) says...

If you look at the 'anatomy' of City's 44 league goals this season, the occasions of one striker directly setting up another striker to score are like hen's teeth. Symo has dominantly scored when fed directly from midfield, followed by his excellent runs forward and (earlier in the season) from set pieces (which have become poor recently). Symo has a direct assist in just one goal scored by another player (Corbett's goal against Harrogate). Since as far back as November, we seem to have lost the knack of scoring goals from 'team moves' - by other players setting up direct chances. I would like to see more creativity from the widemen. If there is not an obvious strike partner for Symo - and the near exhaustion of alternatives suggests there isnt an obvious answer - then why not acknowledge that and play 4-5-1. For example, Rob Elvins into the holding midfield role, allowing Thorley and O'Connor to use their undoubted ball skills further forward -and themselves playing off Symo's lay-offs where they can make a difference. With the likes of Brown, Smith, Mills, Birley playing wide but getting into goal-scoring positions - feeding off Thorley and O'Connor. I dont see a second striker intending to feed off Symo's flick-ons as working very often. Also, the new back four appear to need to bed in, not only defensively - as they seem to be doing - but also through their distribution going forward - which was always a strong point earlier in the season. That hasnt been helped by Deeney, Whitehead and Ayres all being injured, and probably not being able to train. Anyway, of course, I'm not the manager, and Carl will sort it out in his own way. But, from my view, it is not about the 'best' striker pairing. Its about the whole team's creativity.
If you look at the 'anatomy' of City's 44 league goals this season, the occasions of one striker directly setting up another striker to score are like hen's teeth. Symo has dominantly scored when fed directly from midfield, followed by his excellent runs forward and (earlier in the season) from set pieces (which have become poor recently). Symo has a direct assist in just one goal scored by another player (Corbett's goal against Harrogate). Since as far back as November, we seem to have lost the knack of scoring goals from 'team moves' - by other players setting up direct chances. I would like to see more creativity from the widemen. If there is not an obvious strike partner for Symo - and the near exhaustion of alternatives suggests there isnt an obvious answer - then why not acknowledge that and play 4-5-1. For example, Rob Elvins into the holding midfield role, allowing Thorley and O'Connor to use their undoubted ball skills further forward -and themselves playing off Symo's lay-offs where they can make a difference. With the likes of Brown, Smith, Mills, Birley playing wide but getting into goal-scoring positions - feeding off Thorley and O'Connor. I dont see a second striker intending to feed off Symo's flick-ons as working very often. Also, the new back four appear to need to bed in, not only defensively - as they seem to be doing - but also through their distribution going forward - which was always a strong point earlier in the season. That hasnt been helped by Deeney, Whitehead and Ayres all being injured, and probably not being able to train. Anyway, of course, I'm not the manager, and Carl will sort it out in his own way. But, from my view, it is not about the 'best' striker pairing. Its about the whole team's creativity. Andy (Ledbury)
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Wed 22 Feb 12

CityBlueBoy says...

Bringing back Lee Smith has to be done also, I rate Lee as a striker and he has had a previous relationship with Symmo at Gloucester up top. That would then enable us to push Mills and Edwards / Birley / Brown onto the wings as I believe we have some of the better wingers in the league, sad to say Edwards crossing sometimes isnt the best and Cartwright would have been preferred.

8 games out of the last 13 are at home so if we can win all our home games then its just a case of picking up as many points away from home as possible !!
Bringing back Lee Smith has to be done also, I rate Lee as a striker and he has had a previous relationship with Symmo at Gloucester up top. That would then enable us to push Mills and Edwards / Birley / Brown onto the wings as I believe we have some of the better wingers in the league, sad to say Edwards crossing sometimes isnt the best and Cartwright would have been preferred. 8 games out of the last 13 are at home so if we can win all our home games then its just a case of picking up as many points away from home as possible !! CityBlueBoy
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Wed 22 Feb 12

Doogie 46 says...

Never quite understood why Cartwright was allowed to go - I was looking forward to seeing him restored to wide right midfield - best crosser by a long way.Wasted at left back.
I haven`t seen Lee Smith play for City but when he played against us for Nuneaton he was very good.
Luke Corbett doesn`t seem to have had much of a chance after being injured - has he had some kind of fall-out with the manager?
The big disappointment for me has been Carey-Bartram,who doesn`t look anything like the player he was. I`d like to see both Corbett and Smith brought back into the squad.
Never quite understood why Cartwright was allowed to go - I was looking forward to seeing him restored to wide right midfield - best crosser by a long way.Wasted at left back. I haven`t seen Lee Smith play for City but when he played against us for Nuneaton he was very good. Luke Corbett doesn`t seem to have had much of a chance after being injured - has he had some kind of fall-out with the manager? The big disappointment for me has been Carey-Bartram,who doesn`t look anything like the player he was. I`d like to see both Corbett and Smith brought back into the squad. Doogie 46
  • Score: 0

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