Worcester City 0 County 0
'We've no dosh…..the teams playing badly, and our keeper`s an accident waiting to happen' a local offered before the game, but in reality Worcester worked hard…. and the keeper did nothing wrong.
Only the money conundrum seemed to remain for our hosts as they put a considerable spanner in County`s promotion works by taking a point in a 0-0 drawtoday at Bromsgrove.
County opened like tigers tearing into Worcester with some decent passing movements, but as the game progressed the momentum ebbed slowly away from their forward push, and but for four really terrific saves by Ian Ormson, the game would have been lost to County long before the final whistle.
If Ormson was the M.O.M for me, the star out field player was Scott Duxbury- really on top of his game whether it be defending or pushing on a bit, and he did too, hitting the woodwork with a pile driver late on.
For the second game on a trot Scott has come closest to scoring of all the County players, as for the second game running County`s forwards disappointed.
Lloyd ran about in lively fashion, and Odejayi was calm control personified, but that`s that from the forwards. We had passengers up front for the second consecutive match, and they are a luxury we just cannot afford.
All this was not even on the horizon as the game commenced following a minutes silence in honour of a Worcester stalwart.
County had a back four of Ross, Clarke, Cartwright and Duxbury, and they did pretty well throughout, but the first action saw them defending a free kick as Worcester ignored the wall of sound emanating from the packed away end, to push on.
Nothing came of the kick, bar a moment`s excitement for the locals, and the game then set into a pattern of County attacks that always threatened without quite delivering.
There was immense pressure on the home defence at one point, and when Lloyd was bundled down in the box by Chambers, it looked for all the world like the pressure had paid off.
It hadn`t however, as the referee awarded a free kick several millimetres outside the box to the utter bewilderment of me and everyone else around me. It only needed Lloyd`s free kick to thud into keeper Nathan Vaughan`s chest and be bundled away, to complete the picture of misery forming in my mind!
Within a minute of that last action, an error by Chambers almost brought the smile back to County faces, but it was an illusion….and a cruel one at that….as the referee saw a `foul` as Lloyd was played in , breathing new life into City with the oxygen of a welcome free kick.
I was beyond being consoled now, even though Ross`s good work , and his free kick, again put the screws on our hosts, as…whilst the mother of all goal mouth scrambles then ensued in front of Vaughan`s goal ( with me waiting for an accident), Worcester eventually survived with the score still 0-0.
Up until now, it had been pretty much all County, but the twentieth minute saw County take a sharp intake of breath, as Cieran Kean`s cross from the left reached Kuda Muskwe who promptly sent a firm header towards the far corner of the net.
It was nailed on 0-1 in Worcester`s favour, until Ian Ormson flung himself to his right to pull off the first of many match saving saves!
The shock from that rude awakening almost made me miss the County break that followed, as Ormson sent Lloyd surging clear through the middle, but Vaughan was on his toes and out to the edge of his box to deny the County man.
County were recovering fast now, and a neat bit of work twixt Odejayi and Winter saw Ball sent clear. It was a chance, but Ball`s shot was deflected for a corner, which Vaughan held comfortably.
We reached the 25th minute with County still in charge, but the score still 0-0.
The 26th saw Chekaine Steele miss out with a really poor shot, but the 27th was a totally different story, as Muskwe nipped past Ross into the box.
It looked another real chance for Worcester to take the lead, albeit against the run of play, and Steele did all he could, hitting the target with a decent strike. Goal then….one none to City……except no…..Ian Ormson had another fine save in his locker to again thwart the home forwards.
That was a belter from Ian….another belter, as I pondered the thought that without his saves we would already be 2 down!
I was looking for County to take some inspiration from their keeper`s great work, but instead, when they again pushed forward, more frustration followed with the sight of Ball`s legs being swept from under him in the box.
So far …so good…no frustration…..but…. the momentary euphoria, at the thought of ( another) obvious penalty, dissipated almost as fast as it arrived, when the near side liner raised his flag but to indicate `offside` <
The last action of the half saw Muskwe lift a shot over the bar for Worcester….Ormson leave his line to foil Jordan Murphy……… Lloyd claim a yellow for pretty much nothing, and Meppen-Walter come on in the dying embers of added time to replace Winter who presumably was injured.
With Meppen-Walter taking up position in front of the back four on the re-start, County had defending to do, Cieran Keane shooting tamely wide after Murphy had worked small wonders for City opening County up.
Worcester looked altogether more lively on changing ends, but County did manage a couple of sorties in the first 10 minutes or so, but having forced City into conceding a free kick, and having bullied Lloyd into letting him take the kick, Meppen-Walter lifted it over the bar.
Duxbury and Meppen-Walter combined well next, only to see Jimmy Ball`s header fly wide of the target.
We were beyond the hour now, and Ebby Nelson- Addy surged clear on a determined run deep into County territory.
His pass was neat and picked Cieran Keane out precisely to his left.
There was a real chance of the home side going ahead from this, and the feeling persisted when Keane let fly with a fierce effort that headed for the far top corner of the net, only to be gloriously dispatched to the foothills of my mind as Ian Ornson leaped left to tip the shot over the bar! Fantastic !
County were under pressure from the corner that followed ,but it stayed 0-0.
Duxbury was instrumental in ending the next City raid, but Amis was unable to make anything of his pass as the full back tried to turn defence into lethal attack.
There were just over 20 minutes left now, and Worcester were encouraging their supporters with some energetic play, none more so than Muskwe who latched onto a loose ball to head off into County territory.
He was outside the box but …undaunted…. He let rip a snorting drive that was heading in when Ormson`s dive saw him push the ball around the post in improbably spectacular style!
Brazel then came on for Amis, but not without a small panto involving tape….and much waving of arms both sides of the touchline. County were down to 10 for a few minutes, but survived the experience with the score still 0-0.
County were still having to defend, and Clarke did really well to block both Junior English and Murphy on separate occasions.
Duxbury was doing well too and more than once stopped the rot with one blue shirt or another heading deep into the County half.
Brazel meanwhile, was showing up rather well…looking like he wanted the ball most of the time, and the 74th minute saw him pass to Duxbury who took a step or two before blasting a terrific shot against the cross bar! That deserved better for sure, but had County quite done enough to earn the points?
Duxbury and Brazel were certainly trying, but with County getting more and more anxious as the minutes ticked by, and shot after shot being charged down by the home defence, a point seemed about the sum of what we could reasonably hope for.
Into the last few minutes we went, with County still working at it, without that elusive finish. Duxbury again went close…Ball headed wide…..and Lloyd`s late free kick failed to test Vaughan.
A Lloyd / Meppen-Walter cooperation was County`s last hurrah. Again it was close, but there was again no cigar, and the game was over with the points shared.
There was disappointment in the County camp at the close and much happiness in the relegation threatened home ranks.
Not sure where this leaves us promotion wise, we are still in it mathematically, so it`s off to Bradford on Saturday .
See you there!
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Worcester City line up:
Vaughan, Chambers, Weir, Oji, Hutchison, English( Jackson 73), Steele( Nelson Addy 31), J Keane, Muskwe, Murphy( Devlin 81), C Keane.
Subs not used: Ross, Gallinagh.
Stockport County line up:
Ormson, Ross, Clarke, Cartwright, Duxbury, Montrose, Winter( Meppen-Walter 45),Ball, Amis( Brazel 68), Odejayi, Lloyd.
Subs not used; Hinchliffe, Gonzales, Etches.
Attendance; 922 (508 away)