WORCESTER City made Walsall Wood pay for missing a host of presentable chances with George Forsyth’s tidy top-corner finish sealing a 1-1 draw.

AS IT HAPPENED & REACTION | City 1 Walsall Wood 1

Ex-Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake managed to connect with a high cross to open the scoring with a looping finish 13 minutes in.

City keeper Sam Gilder then took centre stage, pushing wide Joey Butlin’s fierce effort before somehow diverting a point-blank drive from Ebanks-Blake against the underside of the bar.

Worcester made two changes at half-time and shifted up a gear with substitute Kyonn Evans denied on the goal line by Kyle Rowley

More chances came and went for Wood with Gilder thwarting Jak Barnes seconds before Forsyth took advantage of Lloyd Ransome spilling a corner to fire home through a busy box midway through the second half.

The play became frantic from there with City having plenty of play and half chances, although Wood looked the likelier to pinch it on the break with substitute Jono Atherton wasting presentable openings.

Sports reporter Andy Mitchell takes us through the talking points.


Move aside, make way. Because he’s going to save the day.

Two saves stood out, denying Ebanks-Blake and Barnes with City fans poised to sigh but don’t forget his flying stop from Butlin plus one-on-one blocks from Paul Sullivan early on and Atherton late in the day.

You’re unlikely to find Gilder’s technique in many coaching manuals but unorthodox or not, his outcomes in recent matches cannot be questioned.

Dan Jezeph has probably been the only keeper to convince the bulk of City fans during the Midland Football League era – surely this display won over some doubters.


Wood paid the price for missing chances – although Gilder had a lot to do with that – but both goals came a matter of seconds after decent openings for the other team.

Forsyth’s drive was rising towards the top corner only for Wood to break and score, while the visitors were caught cold after Barnes had his far-post header saved.

It shows what a fast-paced and sometimes erratic game this was, particularly once City found ways to stretch the play during the second half.


Fans bellow all sorts of star-man suggestions up to the press box every week – it is the nature of the beast and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Forsyth’s name rarely gets a mention these days but that should be taken as a compliment.

While others have great games and go in search of consistency, City’s midfield anchor churns out performance after performance.

His run in the centre of the park is bringing out his best and who would have wanted anyone else to attempt such a technically-astute finish amid a kaleidoscope of chaos?

Such displays are now expected, a sure sign of his class.


Had Wood put away a second at 1-0 they would probably have seen out a comfortable victory.

That said City showed battling qualities, adjusted to half-time changes and seized the opportunity.

There must be something about a team that can play well for only 45 minutes against opponents second in the table and get a draw that could have gone either way by the end.

Yes, there was some luck involved but it was earned.


It would be easy to say City had a terrible first half but that would be unfair on Walsall Wood.

With a 3-4-3 formation, the experienced visitors kept things compact and made life difficult in one-on-one battles.

City’s substitutes brought fresh energy and opened up the game as their opponents gradually tired.

There were flaws in that first 45, no question, but it should not be written off as a disaster.

MIDLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Worcester City 1 (Forsyth 68) Walsall Wood 1 (Ebanks-Blake 13)

City: GILDER 9*, English 7, McFarlane 4, Forsyth 8, Fishwick 6, Horton 7, Birley 6 (Lemon, 58, 6), Lockett 5, Harrison 5, Lawrence 5 (Evans, h-t, 6), Smith 6 (Withington, h-t, 6). Unused subs: Caines, Willis.

Wood: Ransome 5, Rowley 7, Okojie 7 (Bennett-Tindall, 87, 6), Meakin-Richards 6, Barnes 5, McNaught 6, Roberts 7, Tolley, Ebanks-Blake 7 (Atherton, 77, 5), Butlin 7, Sullivan 7. Unused sub: Byfield.

Referee: Joshua Brookland, 6.

Match rating: 7.

Attendance: 360.