Tuesday, December 20, 2005

WORCESTER City moved up the Nationwide North table last night after squeezing a 2-2 draw at derby rivals Redditch United.

Nick Colley gave City the lead at the Valley Stadium following a fine team move, before unusually poor defending allowed managerless Reds' Richard Field and Paul Moore soft goals in the space of eight minutes.

Defender Chris Smith stabbed a second-half equaliser in a brighter second-half from Worcester, but the visitors were unable to chisel a winner in a scratchy, mistake-ridden affair.

A share of the spoils took City ahead of fourth-from-bottom Hednesford Town, although Andy Preece's men remain the only league side without an away win.

"We're really disappointed because we came for a win," said goalscorer Smith. "We didn't start the best, but we went a goal up with a great move and finish from Nick. But, after that, we did not shut up shop and they put us under pressure.

"I thought we battered them in the second-half. We got the equaliser, but we didn't quite get the rub of the green. What made it disappointing was that I think they had three decent chances all game and scored two."

Despite Saturday's exit of former boss Rod Brown and the financial problems at Redditch, caretaker boss Gary Whild fielded a strong side, while Des Lyttle and Adam Webster returned to City's line-up.

After weathering the early storm, Worcester snatched a 13th-minute lead following a terrific four-man move.

Rob Warner delivered a low right-flank cross to the edge of the box, picked up by Colley after a clever dummy from Adam Webster. Colley then shared a one-two with Leon Kelly before coolly slotting past Nathan Vaughan into the bottom corner.

But the lead lasted just two minutes as Redditch's lively forwards picked gaps inside City's all-at-sea rearguard.

From the by-line, Moore worked an extra yard to find Field completely unmarked in front of goal and he slammed the ball into the top corner.

Spurred on by a boisterous home crowd, sections of which demanded the resignation of Reds chairman Pat Cremin, the galvanised home side stormed ahead.

Dangerous Moore won a corner after skipping through challenges from Justin Thompson and Hines. From the set-piece, the striker swivelled the ball home from close range.

Craig Wilding missed a glorious open goal moments after the break and was left to rue the mistake as City, who began to assert control, levelled on 55 minutes.

Smith, so often a predator in the opposition's penalty box, bundled over his fourth goal of the season after United failed to clear George Clegg's cross.

Thompson and Field had excellent headers saved later on, but neither side fully justified taking all three points.

WORCESTER: McDonnell, Warner, Hines, Smith, Thompson, Lyttle, Warmer, Colley, Kelly, Webster (Preece 87), Clegg. Subs not used: Wood, McDonald, Wedgbury, Hodnett.