Worcester City 3-3 Coleshill Town
Midland Football League Premier Division
Rob George reports from the Victoria Ground
A WET September evening saw it rain goals at the Victoria Ground as Worcester City came within 90 seconds of ending Coleshill Town’s 100 per cent start to the season.
The 296 hardy souls who braved the worst Storm Aileen could throw at City’s adopted home were rewarded with a pulsating clash full of goals, yellow cards and contentious decisions.
City bosses John Snape and Lee Hughes made two changes from Saturday’s 1-0 win over Lye with Matt Gwynne returning in goal in place of Tom Palmer and Brad Birch returning from suspension for the injured Matt Birley.
The visitors arrived with six wins out of six to kick off their campaign and 18 goals in the process so the Blue and Whites needed the element of surprise.
And that is just what they did in the opening seconds when the ball found its way to Mark Danks who burst into the right hand edge of the area and shot low to fire City in front.
Coleshill hit the side netting in a sluggish start to the game which saw City on top and Dave Reynolds burst forward down the left to cross for Danks whose shot was smothered by visiting keeper Paul Hathaway.
Danks was presented with the best chance of the half when he chased down a loose ball back to Hathaway who could only kick it straight back at the forward but the ball was cleared.
Possession proved challenging in increasingly difficult conditions and another mix up in the Coleshill defence saw Reynolds round the keeper but his shot was cleared off the line.
The visitors had the ball in the net just before the half hour but it was ruled out for a found on left back Aaron Griffiths and in truth the leaders offered very little in the first period when ended 1-0 to the hosts.
A quiet start to the second period saw Coleshill show the quality which has taken them to the top of the Midland Football League Premier Division.
Gwynne had to be at his best to keep the score at 1-0 but was finally beaten halfway through the second half when Robert Evans volleyed in from close range after a looping ball found him with space in the penalty area.
The visitors went in search of more and were rewarded when an enterprising run and shot from Ryan Leek skidded into the City net with less than 20 minutes to play to make it 2-1.
But any thoughts of a damp squib ending were cast aside in an incredible 15 minute spell which began with the goal of the game on 80 minutes.
Lively Portuguese youngster Josh Sarmento swapped the Stadium of Light for squeals of delight as the pacey former Benfica boy pushed forward to play a one-two with fellow sub James Baldwin before finishing with some aplomb to make it 2-2.
Sarmento wasn’t finished and was on the end of another fine move when Brad Birch found Baldwin who cut the ball back for the youngster to hand City a lead many thought they wouldn’t lose.
But deep into injury time the visitors rallied and sub Sam Ford ensured a share of the spoils with a low shot to make it 3-3 at a breathless Victoria Ground.
Joint boss John Snape was understandably frustrated after the game after seeing his team score three at home and not win.
But by ending Coleshill’s perfect start to the season there can be little doubt the Blue and Whites have the squad and the belief to fight their way out of this league.
The stadium PA played ‘Dancing with Tears in My Eyes’ at the end.
More 90 minutes like this and it will need to be ‘Leave me Breathless’.