Scunthorpe United 1-1 Worcester City
FA Cup Second Round
Jonny Bonell reports from Glanford Park
Attendance: 5,606 (2,026 Worcester fans)
THE FA Cup third round draw is the wildest dream of any non-league side, and Worcester City find themselves exactly there after a battling 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe Sunday (December 7).
People had written City off before the encounter, and an out-of-sorts first half from Carl Heeley’s men saw Paddy Madden have the League One side ahead at the break.
But a rejuvenated Worcester appeared after the interval and within 60 seconds Daniel Nti had smashed home the leveller to send the away support into raptures.
It was a second half in which they more than matched the Iron and could have nicked it late on, but they frustrated their hosts to set up the replay and stretch their unbeaten run to 14 games.
Manager Heeley said: “We were a little bit disappointed and deflated at half time because I don’t think we really did ourselves justice and we were probably a little bit overawed.
“We had a little word (at half time), we were positive and we have come out the blocks and were far, far better and something like the heights we have been reaching in the past 13 games.
“Overall I think it is a fair result, I think both sides deserve a second crack so lets go again.”
The plan from the outset was clear, Worcester got in the face of their opponents, as they did at Coventry, and pressed from the start.
But this was a Scunthorpe side who came into the game in fine form themselves and looked a class above in the early stages, Madden’s looped header was well held by Nathan Vaughan before the Worcester stopper palmed away a fierce Gary McSheffrey effort.
Having scored three in their last three outings, Carl Heeley’s men certainly knew where the back of the net was, but a stubborn home defence restricted both Ellis Deeney and Wayne Thomas to long range efforts which failed to put Sam Slocombe through his paces.
Graham Hutchison then kept the score goalless after 17 minutes as Madden pounced on a poor Thomas clearance to play in Lyle Taylor but as the striker was about the pull the trigger, Hutchison put his body on the line to deflect the effort behind.
Signs of frustration were starting to creep in to the Blue and Whites game as the half wore on and it was a lack of discipline which had the visitors on the back foot after 36 minutes.
Tyler Weir was booked after bringing down Hawridge on the edge of the box, Miguel Llera’s resulting free-kick was tipped onto the bar by Vaughan but Madden reacted quickest to head home.
Mark Robins’ men should have been going into the break two up but Hawridge dragged his effort well wide from the edge of the box.
Whatever Heeley said to his players at the interval had the desired effect as within 60 seconds of the restart Nti was in the right place at the right time to slam home from six-yards out after Tyler Weir’s delivery caused all sorts of problems in the visitors box.
The 2,000 travelling Worcester fans raised the roof at Glanford Park and could have seen a quick-fire second but Mike Symons hooked his effort over the bar after Slocombe spilled a Sean Geddes delivery.
After a frustrating first period, City were a side growing in confidence, outplaying their Football League rivals and showing why they had gone 13 games without defeat prior to this encounter.
The good work could have so easily been undone on the hour mark when substitute Hakeeb Adelakun found space on the right hand side of the box, he drilled a shot which was tipped out by Vaughan and with the goal gaping Billy Kee’s follow up went wide.
Both sides had chances to avoid the replay, but the Conference North side held out for a deserved draw as Worcester and Scunthorpe find themselves in the hat for the coveted third round draw.