Defeat for Town as Worcester march on
Report by Jay Taylor
A brace from second half substitute Daniel Nti sandwiched between a super strike from FA Cup hero Sean Geddes gave Worcester the three points against an inconsistent Harrogate Town side.
Worcester City travelled to the Spa town of Harrogate on the back of a monumental victory in the FA Cup away to League One outfits Coventry City. However could they replicate their cup exploits and take it back into their league form. Worcester already in superb form being unbeaten in the last ten matches in all competitions. Harrogate Town not in quite as impressive form being unbeaten at The CNG Stadium in their last five encounters. The league table suggested it would be a close game being 11th v 12th and only two points difference.
Town manager Simon Weaver named the same eleven that defeated Hyde last week.
It was a surprisingly mild winter’s day on Wetherby Road with the CNG pitch looking in good condition bearing in mind the recent downpours. This was the first time I had witnessed the new stand at the hospital end and it looked fantastic, in the second half real noise was bellowed out of there from the home fans.
It was a somewhat scrappy start to the match with both sides finding it difficult to string more than three passes together. It was the home side however who had the first attempt on goal as a corner was cleverly pulled back to the edge of the box where talisman Walshaw had peeled off but his strike was blazed over.
It was a slow start to the match but Harrogate were the ones certainly in the ascendency as Worcester rarely got into Town’s half. You felt that when Harrogate got their chances they had to take them as Worcester were always going to grow into the game and we all know what Geddes can do after his fantastic performance at the Ricoh Arena a few weeks ago.
Eleven minutes gone and Town almost broke the deadlock as Walshaw tried to get in behind but it was cut out and the ball rolled out to the onrushing full-back Lewis Turner who struck ferociously on target but was met with a superb save from Worcester goalkeeper Vaughan.
Town looked solid at this point holding their shape well and keeping everything compact as Worcester looked lacklustre when coming forward.
Twenty minutes in and Town came even closer, this time Meynell’s cross was diverted goal wards by Adam Nowakowski and the ball flicked off the face of the post.
Worcester were not looking comfortable at all and you thought it was just a matter of time until Town found the net. A poor pass back from City gave Jake Speight a chance to nip in but Vaughan charged out and blocked well.
Worcester finally gave something going forward on 33 minutes as a number of ricochet’s in the penalty area eventually popped out to Wright at the back post who just couldn’t stretch enough to tap it into the bottom corner.
The away side were now having their best spell so far as they drew a foul right on the edge of the box resulting in Town’s captain McGurk being cautioned. Geddes took the free-kick but it was blocked in the wall by the lanky figure of Nowakowski.
Geddes again tried his luck before the break but his shot was tame and easy for Harrogate stopper Barnes.
Half-Time: Harrogate Town 0-0 Worcester City
The second half started the complete opposite to the first as all of a sudden it was frantic, frenetic and wide open.
Four minutes in and James Walshaw broke in behind in an inside left position on his favoured left foot but surprisingly he unselfishly attempted to find Speight but the cut back was just behind him and the ball was cleared. In my opinion he should have gone alone and struck low into the far corner.
Harrogate were receiving a lot of space in the Worcester half getting in behind their midfield time and time again but that final ball or final bit of quality was lacking much to the annoyance of the fans around the CNG.
Town left-back Meynell who I was impressed with throughout received the ball on the left with acres of space to run in to but as Speight waited in the box Meynell’s cross was just too high for the striker waiting to pounce.
Town were finding it difficult to break down Worcester’s solid defence and they were made to pay on 65 minutes. Worcester substitute Daniel Nti who had only been on the pitch no more than three minutes sent a lovely strike into the far corner, he didn’t even celebrate, you’d have thought he’d of been happier with that goal.
This opener sparked Worcester into life and it galvanised the away side as Murphy struck inches wide seconds later.
On the other hand however Town were not just going to lie down and have their tummies tickled. Young striker Louie Swain entered the fray and was agonizingly close to equalising immediately as he blocked a clearance and it nearly rocketed into the back of the net but cannoned the wrong side of the post. Having broken the net with his first goal last week the Town faithful chanted “Louie, break the net, Louie Louie break the net”, this one definitely wouldn’t have though.
Entering the final ten minutes of the contest and the away side were passing it about confidently now with everyone but the Worcester goalkeeper in Harrogate’s half.
City then doubled their lead and just about sealed the win. Not to be outdone Sean Geddes got in on the action and produced an even more impressive goal than Nti’s. He bent it deliciously right into the top corner from all of 25 yards.
Town piled on some late pressure with Swain and Nowakowski coming close on a number of occasions but when Worcester broke out in the 90th minute mistake after mistake was made from Harrogate and they were punished with Nti finishing well again, calamitous goal for Town to concede. Just to point out Nti was absolutely delighted with this goal.
Swain had one final chance to net a consolation as the ball popped up to him on his favoured left foot inside the area but his effort was struck right at Vaughan.
Full-Time: Harrogate Town 0-3 Worcester City
Harrogate Town move down a place to 13th whereas Worcester City move up a place to 10th and 6 points off the play-offs.