Saturday, April 29, 2006

HAT-trick hero Adam Webster was not prepared to exit yet another Nationwide North outpost without his prize match ball.

Earlier this month, Webster scorched four goals past Leigh RMI but went home trophyless as the Hilton Park ball was locked in a cupboard before anyone had time to ask.

Lightning did not strike twice. Hands gripped around the ball, signed by all his Worcester City team-mates, the 25-year-old was a happy man walking out of Babbage Way.

Ten-man Worksop Town provided more cannon-fodder for Webster, who brought down the curtain on City's season in style. Right now, it's difficult not to wax lyrical about Webster, who is the league's top goalscorer in away matches this term.

Only six goals came from his boot at St George's Lane, but 15 were struck on the road, three more than Northwich Victoria's Jonny Allan.

Player-manager Andy Preece believes his leading marksman should have broken the 30-goal barrier this season.

On 25 before Saturday's Nottinghamshire visit, it is no exaggeration that Webster could have still met that milestone against Town's wounded Tigers.

Webster scored with his head, his foot and blasted a penalty, while squandering a second spot-kick.

"It's nice to finish on a good note, scoring three goals and winning 3-0," said Webster, who took his April tally to 11. "I'm sorry the season is finishing. We should play in the summer more often!

"It's always good to finish off with a performance like that and hopefully we'll carry it on to the start of next season.

"Realistically, both sides had nothing to play for, but the gaffer said before the game that he wanted us to finish as high as we can. We put on a good performance and put our chances away.

"I usually blast penalties and I put my head down and blasted the first one. Obviously, I should have done the same again with the second one. But it was good to get a goal after missing the penalty."

The average age of City's starting 11 was their season's lowest. Academy pair Troy Wood and Gary Walker kept their places, while Tom Warmer returned and Danny Hodnett replaced Des Lyttle.

Handed the captain's role, Chris Smith anchored his side expertly from the back as Webster caused havoc up top. The early stages carried an all-too-familiar end-of-season feel until City's 37th-minute penalty brought the contest to life.

Anthony Jackson, beaten for pace by Wood, dragged down the 18-year-old inside the box and was sent off for denying a clear goalscoring chance.

Webster made no mistake from 12 yards, lashing the spot-kick high above Town stopper Adam Sollitt.

Moments before half-time, Sollitt kept out Wood's snap-shot, but the goalkeeper was beaten again five minutes after the interval.

From Rob Warner's long throw-in, Smith flicked on and Webster tucked home from six yards. Worksop enjoyed a strong 10-minute spell with Steve Owens bringing out a superb stop from Skyers, while sub Ben Saunders' lob struck the side-netting. Skyers saved Dean Gordon's two low efforts.

On 77 minutes, City landed their second penalty after Sollitt shoved Wood. But Sollitt amended his error, diving left to palm away Webster's drive.

Webster, though, only waited five minutes for his hat-trick goal. It came from a simple training ground move, the confident forward heading home George Clegg's corner at the near post.

Extra chances were created to further punish Worksop. Nick Colley latched on to Wood's lay-off to fire on target and Webster marched free into the box, but Sollitt won both battles.

CITY: Skyers, Warner (Colley 67), Burley (Watkins 84), Pearce, Smith, Hodnett, Warmer (Stanley 67), Walker, Wood, Webster, Clegg. Subs not used: Danks, Khan.

Attendance: 390.