ON the progress report, Worcester City's midfield and attack are yet to receive a tick in the box.

Both areas have been at pains to function in City's first three Nationwide North games. Whether it's down to misfiring individual performances or a symptom of the 5-3-2 system, there needs to be an improvement.

The strikers are without a goal and only once did Adam Webster or Leon Kelly come close to hitting the net against Gainsborough, when the former's second-half volley whistled past the upright.

Behind the front two, Andy Preece is no nearer to putting together the most compatible three-man midfield.

Jai Stanley and Nick Colley, two of the more creative players, have struggled to make a big impact and there has been a general dearth of inventiveness in Worcester's overall play.

But that's the sore points. On a lighter note, City's defence is slowly clicking into gear despite plenty of upheavals during the summer.

It was not the best of starts at Kettering as Christian Moore nipped in to score twice from two chances.


But the partnership of Chris Smith, Des Lyttle and Barry Woolley found its feet to snuff out Hinckley's threat and post the club's first clean sheet.

They were within five minutes of achieving another blank at St George's Lane on Saturday -- and there was a whiff of off-side when Trinity whizzed a consolation past Danny McDonnell.

While the defenders keep it tight at the back, they are also showing the attackers where the net is.

Smith has been Worcester's stand-out performer in the first eight days of the campaign. Preece described the former Leeds United schoolboy as the "best defender in Nationwide North" when he snatched him from rivals Stafford Rangers.

The 24-year-old looks very comfortable in his new surroundings and believes City's defence can only get better.

"I think we've done very well," Smith said. "We felt a little hard done by at Kettering, conceding two goals. Des slipped for the first goal and we felt Les Hines was fouled for the second.

"But we got a clean sheet against Hinckley and looked solid. I know we've conceded against Gainsborough, but they barely had a shot on target and we felt as though their goal was off-side. So it's possible that we nearly came away with two clean sheets.

"We can only get better as a unit because we are going to learn more about each other's strengths as the season goes on.

"There's also demand for places in defence, which is good. You know you have to play well to keep your shirt and there's some good players here."

Rarely noted for his goalscoring exploits at Stafford, Smith surprised himself by giving City the lead during the 2-1 triumph over Trinity. He actually predicted his moment of glory to Barry Woolley on the morning's journey to St George's Lane.

Smith added: "It took me 30-odd games at Stafford last season to get a goal, so hopefully I can carry on scoring here.

"I would not say no to a few more goals, but I would not like to curse it! Obviously, I'll be saying to Baz Woolley again that I fancy scoring. Hopefully, it will come off again."