Worcester City 4-3 Sherwood Colliery
FA Vase First Round
Rob George reports from the Victoria Ground
ON A DAY when Storm Brian swept across the UK, Worcester City had the wind put up them by an impressive Sherwood Colliery side.
The Blue and Whites will be in Monday’s second round draw but only after an enthralling and nail-biting 4-3 victory over their Nottinghamshire opponents.
City’s FA Vase campaign has already yielded 14 goals after a similar 4-3 victory was secured a month ago at Boldmere St Michaels.
Joint chiefs Lee Hughes and John Snape made four changes from the disappointing 1-1 draw with South Normanton Athletic last weekend with Matt Gwynne, Matt Birley, Jamie Smith and George Forsyth coming in for Tom Palmer, Josh Sarmento, Alex Tomkinson and Wayne Thomas.
The early stages gave no indication of the intense drama to follow as City forced five early corners and Forsyth sent a free kick over the bar from 20 yards.
City broke the deadlock in the 12th minute when Birley’s cross from the right found Hughes in acres of space and the prolific goal-scorer made no mistake with a clever turn and shot into the corner of the net to hand Worcester the lead.
A powerful effort from City skipper Brad Birch was parried away just past the half hour before four goals in a crazy six minute period before the break.
Smith popped up on the right and slid a ball through to Dave Reynolds for the hot-shot to poke it past Liam Kerry in the Colliery goal to hand City control of the contest.
But the visitors showed just why they are unbeaten so far this season with a comeback to make even Lazarus blush as Liam Theakston was sent flying by Gwynne for a penalty two minutes later.
Ewen Robson made no mistake from the spot to make it 2-1 and within 90 seconds of the restart Theakston shrugged off City’s Alexandru Albert to fire home low past Gwynne to level the tie.
The 408 in attendance were catching the breath and preparing the half-term criticism when Forsyth crossed from the right for Smith to head home from eight yards out to make it 3-2 at the break.
City began the second half on the front foot and a free-kick from the right from Jamie Smith found Mark Smith whose header forced a fine one-handed stop from Kerry.
The home side regained their two goal advantage on 50 minutes when Hughes was played in on the left and drew the keeper off his line before squaring it for Reynolds for a simple tap in to make it 4-2.
But the drama continued when City skipper Birch was shown a straight red card for raising his arm, a dismissal which saw the home side reduced to 10 men for the third match running.
The sending off forced City to change to a 4-4-1 and Hughes had to be at his best at the other end of the pitch on the hour to clear off the line after a smart reflex save from Gwynne.
But the Blue and Whites couldn’t see the wood from the trees and Sherwood fought their way back five minutes later when Theakston bundled it home from six yards after good work from Ethan Wiesztort on the right.
Theakston was live and kicking at this point and should have had his hat-trick and the equaliser five minutes later when his low shot struck the outside of the post with Gwynne beaten.
A nerve-shredding final 10 minutes saw chances for both sides but City held on to emerge on top in yet another exhilarating FA Vase encounter for Worcestershire’s great entertainers.