Worcestershire Schools' FA

Worcestershire through in a thriller

Last Updated: Nov 17, 2014 07:37am
Droitwich Spa, Wychavon
By Colin Mortiboys
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ESFA Inter-County Trophy: Worcestershire SFA 4-3 Cheshire SFA


Our preparations for this match were not helped when our home pitch at Littleton FC was deemed unfit due to being waterlogged on Friday, with little chance of the surface improving overnight.

This meant some prompt enquires being made by our Competition Secretary, Paul Rickard, in the hope of finding an alternative venue to stage the match. Fortunately, Paul managed to secure Pershore Town High School's 3G artificial surface, so the game went ahead with a 1:15pm kick-off.

WSFA U18's Manager, Danny Janes, had some tough team selections decisions to make, especially as some of the squad were unavailable for this match.

The match was an open affair from the very first whistle and Worcestershire made the perfect start when a mix-up in the Cheshire box allowed space to prod the ball into an unguarded net for a 1-0 lead.

Our lead was to be short lived as good play from Cheshire on the left flank saw a poor clearance from the 'greens' and Cheshire sized on the opportunity to grab an equaliser on 12-mintues.

Worcestershire then had two good chances top go back into the lead, but on each occasion, the Cheshire goalkeeper pulled off instinctive saves to keep the match level.

On 26-minutes, a delightful through ball from Worcestershire's number 14 split Cheshire's defence and a calm finish put the game at 2-1 to the home side, however just 2-minutes later, some crisp passing from Cheshire on the counter-attack created a scoring opportunity and a 'reds' player made no mistake to slot the ball low into the net for another equaliser. Worcestershire's reaction to conceding the goal was positive, as just a minute later, the greens delivered a fantastic ball in from the right wing and we were unlucky that the header went just wide of the post.

On 38-minutes, Worcestershire were awarded a free-kick 25-yards from the Cheshire goal but as the cross was delivered,a good defensive clearance from the away sides defence saw a penetrative counter attack.  As the player breaking away crossed the half-way line he was fouled but managed to keep to his feet and the referee played an excellent advantage, which saw a precise pass to the left into the path of another Cheshire player who despatched the ball into the left hand corner of the net to give the reds the lead for the first time in the match.

With a minute remaining until half-time, a low drilled shot from Worcestershire hit the Cheshire post and the away side cleared the ball from danger to lead 3-2 at the break.

The opening exchanges of the 2nd half were compacted around the half-way line with very little space for either team to carve our passes for their respective attacking players.

On 54-minutes, a Worcestershire player delivered a deep cross from the left and a greens player was on hand to score past the outstretched goalkeeper to pull the tie back to 3-3 in a game of constant twists & turns.

As the match entered the last 10-minutes of normal time and the increasing prospect of extra-time, both teams were looking for the opportunity to create a chance to put the game in their favour.

On 84-minutes, it was Worcestershire who made the breakthrough, as another deep cross from the left caused confusion in the Cheshire box and as the ball landed in the 6-yard box, a greens player was ideally positioned to poke the ball over the goal line to give the home team a 4-3 advantage.

The last 6-miutes were fraught with nerves as Cheshire searched for another equaliser, but with Worcestershire putting more players behind the ball in an effort to protect the score, the away side were being frustrated.

Credit to Cheshire, they put together one last attack in the final minute that saw the ball cannon back off the Worcestershire crossbar and there was a sigh of relief as a greens defender cleared the ball away from the danger zone.

As the final whistle sounded with Worcestershire moving into the next round with a 4-3 victory, the players of both sides can be proud of their contribution in a game played in excellent spirit throughout.