A LONG SEASON for Worcester City came to an end on Saturday as a youthful side fell to a 2-1 defeat at South Normanton Athletic.
Hot-shot Dave Reynolds’ 30th goal of a prolific season couldn’t secure a final day three points as the hosts secured the win with goals from Tom Lewis and Marcus Tudgay.
Observer sports editor Rob George looks back at a dramatic nine months both on and off the field for the Blue and Whites.
AND so a controversial penalty from a former Derby County player who appeared to stutter in his run-up, is the denouement which ends Worcester City’s season.
Apt really when you consider it’s been yet another campaign of drama, tension, off-the-field rows and the occasional on-field bust-up as this increasingly nomadic football team fought for the loyal faithful who braved rain, sleet and snow to watch John Snape’s men.
A long season for City came to an end on Saturday as a youthful side fell to a 2-1 defeat at South Normanton Athletic to leave them in fourth place in the final Midland Football League Premier Division table.
Hot-shot Dave Reynolds’ 30th goal of a prolific season couldn’t secure a final day three points as the hosts secured the win with goals from Tom Lewis and ex-Rams striker Marcus Tudgay.
The season started with two bosses of course – Snape was joined by former West Bromwich Albion striker Lee Hughes as the pair signed up for a promotion push as joint managers.
A hectic summer of recruitment was forced upon the pair after relegation from the National League North was followed by a swift demotion from the Southern League and into a division boasting landlords Bromsgrove Sporting.
Hughes lent on his vast contacts book to bring in Stourbridge talent-spotter Aaron White and the first few weeks provided a mixed bag of results with a squad still playing ‘getting to know you’.
Three wins to start the season were followed by two without a win before the Coleshill home clash in September which saw City take the lead seconds after kick-off and could have easily been out of sight at the break.
The visitors roared back and looked odds on for the win at 2-1 up before City fought back and regained the lead before throwing it away with a defensive lapse in injury time. There would be similar tales during the campaign.
When City were good they were good. An 8-0 win over Quorn was a meaty result for all involved. But when City were bad, they were awful, as anyone who witnessed the 3-5 reverse to Sporting Khalsa will testify.
The horrendous winter played its part with waterlogged pitches, frozen pitches and beasts bringing snow from all corners contributing to City playing just two games in seven weeks between the end of November and the middle of January.
Boardroom pronouncements threatening ‘amateur status’ for next season and rumblings about the budget saw a host of players, including Hughes, depart on dual registration deals and it’s to Snape’s eternal credit he kept the spirit in the group together to keep City in the hunt for promotion.
The revamped squad lost just two of its final 15 games but draws against the likes of Loughborough University, Rugby Town, Stourport Swifts, Boldmere St Michaels and AFC Wulfrunians meant City had too much to do.
City finished fourth, 15 points off champions Bromsgrove Sporting, nine behind promoted Coleshill Town and seven off Highgate United. Yet the Blue and Whites were 3-0 up at half time on Boxing Day against the eventual champions, took four points from six against Coleshill and beat Highgate at home having lost away.
The uncomfortable truth for all those associated with City is the time for honesty has begun.
Frustration at being away from Worcester for more than five years is painfully evident throughout the club. The board of directors owe it to those loyal band of fans to deliver answers sooner rather than later.
The faithful need to realise some of the targets of their ire earn basically the money for their petrol and Worcester City Council need to take a lead and aid the club back to a suitable stadium in Worcester by 2019.
Four years ago, City were the second highest ranked team in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, just behind Kidderminster Harriers.
Come August, Harriers, Hereford, Redditch United, Evesham United, Alvechurch and now Bromsgrove Sporting will be ahead of City.
That historic day at the Ricoh Arena, beating Coventry City in the FA Cup, fades further away. Let it not become a distant memory.