BILLY Shaw continued to prove his worth to Worcester City as he played a pivotal role in guiding his side to a 2-1 win over fellow play-off contenders Lichfield City in the final game of 2021.

Shaw headed second-placed City into the lead with ten minutes left in the first-half before he won the penalty that James Douglas converted in the 76th minute to eventually seal the three points.

Dan Lomas smashed home a penalty for Lichfield in stoppage time to provide some late drama but it proved to be nothing but a consolation as City held on for their sixth win in seven league games.

It means Worcester cement their place in second in the Midland Football League Premier Division, three points clear of third placed Boldmere St Michaels and seven points off league leaders Hanley Town.

In what was the final game of the year before the Christmas break, City were looking to maintain the unbeaten run that stretches back to early October against a side just two places behind them in the league.

The team news before the game presented a boost to Worcester as the top goal scorer in the league, Jack Edwards, was ruled out for Lichfield whilst the hosts welcomed back Jamie Smith to the starting eleven and Reiss Taylor Randle made his full debut.

It was a promising start for the home side who, despite the less than perfect playing surface, were trying to play the ball around and the returning Smith forced a strong save from Lichfield’s James Beeson in the early exchanges.

But there was not too much else to report in terms of chances and after about 25 minutes the game began to get a little scrappy and Worcester were less than fluid with the ball as the visitors started to get a foothold in the game.

But with ten minutes remaining in the half, Will Gibbons was fouled out wide on the edge of the box and Bailey Fuller whipped in the free-kick that Shaw flicked past Beeson to give City the lead.

Into the second half and it continued to be quite stop start as neither side managed to create too much in terms of clear-cut chances until the 75th minute of the game.

Fuller crashed a curling shot against the cross-bar and then a scuffed shot hit the post immediately afterwards before Shaw was tripped in the box as he looked to pull the trigger himself.

It was an easy decision for the referee and Douglas stepped up to slam the penalty down the middle.

Callum Debar got himself in a tangle with Lichfield’s Luke Childs in stoppage time to give Lomas the opportunity to half the deficit from the spot but it was nothing but a black mark against a gritty performance from City.