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FA CUP REPORT, REACTION & RATINGS: Worcester City 2 Walsall Wood 1

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FA CUP LIVE: Worcester City v Walsall Wood

By Andy Mitchell

Last updated:

    FT: City 2 (Brain 17, 26) Wood 1 (Rowley 52)
  • SEAN Brain’s first-half double was enough to get City’s Claines Lane era off and running with a 2-1 FA Cup victory over Walsall Wood.
  • Worcester had to withstand spells of second-half pressure, more from set pieces than anything else, after Kyle Rowley had halved the deficit but stood firm and managed the game well to claim £1,444 in prize money and a place in Monday’s first qualifying round draw.
  • Brain broke the deadlock in the 17th minute, firing low past keeper James Wren after a scramble from Jamie Smith’s precise driven centre.
  • The lead was doubled when the nippy frontrunner dashed in behind and guided past Wren one-on-one to put Wood well and truly on the back foot.
  • Visiting boss Darren Byfield shook things up with a double substitution, later confirming both had been tactical moves.
  • They did the job of stifling the rest of the half before coming out with more urgency in the second and Wood got back into it when Michael Nelson recycled a ball to the back post for Kyle Rowley to power a header into the roof of the net.
  • Pressure built on City but the hosts carried a threat going forward, Dave Reynolds having a shot blocked seconds after the restart.
  • Rowley continued to be the go-to man at set pieces and headed back across goal for Lewis Hayden to narrowly clear the crossbar with a volley that had many of a City persuasion anxiously drawing breath.
  • Craig Jones might have allayed any fears with a far-post header of his own with 14 minutes to go but there was not too much for City to worry about as the energy seemed to drain from Wood’s renaissance.
  • Nat Kelly bundled over Nelson as he threatened to race in on goal in added time, getting away with a booking because of the distance from danger.
  • The free-kick led to a corner that Wren threw himself at but brushed the ball with his head rather than connecting properly in the away side’s final foray forward.