Worcester City Reserves are in a strong position to progress to the latter stages of the Midland Football League Challenge Trophy with their fate in their own hands despite only picking up one point from their two recent matches.

City failed to convert a hatful of first-half chances in a 2-3 defeat at Redditch United, where Joe Clarke and Jacob Keane were on target.

The team then battled back to earn a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw with Bartley Reds. First goals of the season for Kieran Clayton and Jack Farr gave the visitors a two-goal advantage after half-an-hour but they were quickly undone by two long balls and a set piece to trail at the break.

A spirited second-half fightback saw Clarke net for the second game in a row to level matters as City left somewhat unfortunate not to go on and win the contest.

The result lifts City to second place behind Sporting Club Inkberrow with three matches to play. With two teams qualifying for the semi-finals, they trail the group leaders by five points and are level on points with nearest challengers Redditch United albeit with two games in hand on and a much superior goal difference.

Another Worcester City side that collected a point at the weekend was the Under 21s who drew 2-2 with Lichfield City, thanks to an Owen Oxley brace.

Several other teams also returned to action after the festive break, including City Ladies who were beaten 8-1 by Coventry Sphinx in their first outing for a month. Lauren D’Oyen Fitchett grabbed the only goal.

The Under 12s showed no signs of rustiness and could have won by more if it wasn’t for the woodwork as they ran out 3-0 victors at Gloucester Development in the JPL Cup. Goals from Rafe Green (2) and Josh Francis earned a trip to Reading in the next round.

An improved second-half performance from City’s other Under 12s side couldn’t prevent them slipping to a 2-0 loss against Solihull in their first Midland Junior Premier League fixture of the new year.

There was an excellent display from the Under 11s in their JPL Cup clash with South Staffordshire RTC, whilst City’s Under 7s, 8s and 9s also enjoyed their first run-outs of 2020 against Oldbury Park, Redditch United and Newtown Sports respectively.