Monday, February 27, 2006

WORCESTER City crashed out of the Worcestershire Senior Cup 4-3 on penalties last night to Moor Green.

Justin Thompson and Jai Stanley both blazed over spot-kicks at St George's Lane, as rivals Moors kept their cool to book a final spot with Halesowen Town.

The semi-final tie finished 1-1 after 120 minutes, with classy Troy Wood giving City a thunderbolt lead before David Bridgwater levelled.

In a dress rehearsal to Saturday's Nationwide North showdown, both sides wanted to claim the upper hand.

Moors fielded a strong line-up, while Andy Preece chose the same teenagers that despatched Stourport Swifts in the last round.

Three 17-year-olds, Wood, Nat Bulmer and Dale Watkins, all received outings, along with 18-year-old Gary Walker. Jai Stanley and Les Hines boosted their fitness.

But Wood stole the show. Partnering player-manager Preece, the young livewire tormented Moors' experienced defence through pace and trickery.

Wood is also blessed with a cannonball shot and demonstrated that to full effect on 14 minutes.

Walker's perfect aerial pass found Wood and, after showing great chest control, he smashed the ball past goalkeeper Ashley Timms.

Defensive trio Shabir Khan, Justin Thompson and skipper Danny Hodnett looked in control until the visitors drew level three minutes before half-time.

Jason Moore caught them flat-footed and won a penalty after being fouled by Lewis Skyers, who was fortunate to avoid a red card.

Skyers saved ex-City player Darren Middleton's spot-kick but, from the resultant throw-in, Bridgwater steered home from close range. Moments into the second-half, Wood and Watkins were denied by Timms and, on 61 minutes, Moors captain Lee Collins was sent-off for two bookable offences.

Timms tipped away another fierce Wood effort, while Middleton's volley from David Morrison's free-kick fizzed straight at Skyers.

Extra-time brought little excitement, although Walker almost deceived Timms with a goal-bound cross and Middleton's diving header steered wide of the upright.

Moors showed greater composure during the penalty shoot-out. City's Hodnett, Preece and Les Hines all converted and Middleton, Gary McPhee, Phil Trainer and Guy Sanders scored for Moors.

CITY: Skyers, Bulmer, Hines, Hodnett, Khan, Thompson, Walker, Watkins (Colley 106), Wood, Stanley, Preece. Subs not used: Sturmey, Edwards, Butler, Hacking.