Lads Club Raiders With Late Flourish
Worcester Raiders 3-3 Hereford Lads Club
This eventful encounter in front of a decent attendance, none of whom paid for the privilege, contained six goals, numerous misses, the appearance of the real Worcestershire Junior Cup, a guard of honour for champions Hereford and a 3-0 deficit turned round dramatically but deservedly by the Lads with the last kick of the game. The spectators, including a good number of children, also witnessed a near brawl, the slinging of a ‘flare’ and a part-used booze-can onto the Raiders’ technical rectangle, plus a storm of swearing abuse and threatening behaviour. A few ‘spectators’ even ran onto the pitch before the start of the second period for a quick kickabout which amused the visiting substitutes at least, as wild challenges and a shocking finish way over the crossbar left no doubt that the culprits’ pre-match beverage hadn’t been Bovril…
The actual match was eminently watchable and several players impressed throughout, with Tom Harding a danger in the Lads’ attack, backed astutely by three excellent midfielders in Rory Worthing, Zac Sirrell and Kalum Wildig who weighed in with a brace of goals. Boss and skipper Danny Moon was as effective as he was experienced and nodded the all important opener for the guests. The Raiders were well served by skipper Joel Hobbs in defence, Nick Macpherson in a deep attacking role and also the two forwards, Rich Smith and Martin Newman, who notched the three home goals between them. Tom Hobbs was missed when he was withdrawn injured but with more care from Ant Smith late on, the Raiders might well have settled the result before Wildig’s even later heroics.
DAN NORCOTT, SAM CAREY, DALE GODDARD, JOEL HOBBS (CAPT), GLEN SITCH, PAUL SMITH, ANT SMITH, TOM HOBBS, NICK MACPHERSON, RICH SMITH, MARTIN NEWMAN.
JOEY HAINES, MITCH BUTTERWORTH, DYLAN HART, CASEY GORMLEY, JAMIE HEASON.
HEREFORD LADS CLUB:
STEVEN BELL, GARETH BOWLEY, MATT MATURI, RORY WORTHING, LIAM JONES, DANNY MOON (CAPT), ALEX LAWCETT, ZAC SIRRELL, DAN HERBERT, TOM HARDING, KALUM WILDIG.
CHRIS GWYNNE, JAMES FENNESSY, SHAUN PRINCE, JAMIE CUTHBERTSON, RICH JONES.
An early Macpherson shot was deflected away from goal by Lads’ defender Liam Jones and it was clear from the start that Rich Smith’s movement was going to be a pain for the visitors to deal with, just as, at the opposite end, Tom Harding’s zippy pace was going to threaten the hosts and Sam Carey in particular, as the wily attacker cut inside from the left-flank. Indeed, a pass by Alex Lawcett, well aimed, allowed Harding to do just that but a good blocking save by the young outrushing home ‘keeper Dan Norcott denied the Hereford Lad. Dan Herbert challenged for the loose dropping ball after Norcott’s save but was penalised for his bulky jump at Norcott, who nearly ended up with Herbert’s skull between his gloves…
|HERBERT, MATURI & JOEL HOBBS...|
|AFTER JONES' MISSED HEADER...|
|RICH SMITH LOBS TOO HIGH...|
Rich Smith then fastened onto a flick but lifted his attempted lob too high, the first of two such attempts in the opening half. However, the hosts made a surprise breakthrough when Paul Smith and Macpherson combined to offer Mr Grumpy, Ant Smith an angled shooting opportunity from inside-right which Club goalie Steven Bell dived right for, saved but pushed the ball into the path of the lurker, Martin Newman, who scored with ease.
|NEWMAN THE SCORER...|
Norcott fell right to hang onto a clipped 25 yard free-kick by Herbert, who was built like a World War 2 brick pill-box and Norcott repeated his rush and save from Harding but the striker had been flagged offside anyway as he ran onto Kalum Wildig’s pass. A one-two between Rich Smith and Paul Smith set up the forward for a shot from inside-right but Bell fell low right to save well and Rich Smith was unable to gobble up the rebound. In an end-to-end half, Jones soon rose at the far post but was unable to direct his header anywhere but near the trees from a fine free-kick by Rory Worthing, whose set-piece deliveries were really good all through the match.
|HERBERT: TOP SCORER...|
Rich Smith’s second lobbed effort from 28 yards again dropped too late, Bell was cautioned for complaining I believe (no appeal?) before Danny Moon smacked a far post volley over the target from another superb worthy Worthing free-kick from inside-right. Another Worthing pass, this time left for Harding saw the tricky Lad cut inside well but his curled shot missed the far upright and it was clear that Zac Sirrell and Worthing were bossing midfield by this point, yet it was the Raiders who found the net…
|MOON & RICH SMITH...|
|MOON HAS FIRED WIDE...|
A neat but short lobbed pass towards the left side of the 18 yard box by Tom Hobbs saw Newman reach it before the advancing arms and legs of Bell and he poked the ball on into the empty net.
|COUNTRY DANCING CELEBRATION FOR THE RAIDERS: 'BLOBBY' GOES UNDERNEATH THE ARCH...|
Herbert managed to lay a pass back for Worthing to strike from 20 yards but his low drive went wide of the left upright and almost immediately the hosts roared into a 3-0 lead, when Jones’ header glanced backwards for Newman to slip a short pass inside for Rich Smith to beat Bell low from 10 yards…
|RICH SMITH THE SCORER...|
The visitors, visibly shocked, mustered a quickly taken free-kick from inside-right by Worthing which the alert Harding couldn’t quite reach and it was significant that the Lads were slow to emerge from their dressing-room after the interval. Ultimately though, they were to redress the balance and nick that coveted point as the game ebbed away.
|READY FOR THE FLARE GUYS?|
Glen Sitch was defending with aplomb against the Lads’ top goalscorer Herbert, despite a height difference between the two but Sitch did well at the start of the second period to slice away a downward header from yet another fine Worthing free-kick. Tom Hobbs was hurting and following a wasteful and high Newman shot, he was replaced by Joey Haines and soon the hosts were close to netting a fourth goal. A free-kick by Paul Smith was challenged for by Rich Smith with Moon and the ball dropped towards the left post, where Bell dropped to smother the effort. Immediately, at the opposite end, Norcott plunged left to turn away a drive by Harding for a corner but Lawcett’s eventual shot from the cleared flag-kick flew way off target.
|THE REF HAS JUST MENTIONED THAT IT WOULD BE USEFUL IF THERE WASN'T A WINNER, IN CASE OF TROUBLE...|
|PAUL SMITH: COUPLE OF NEAT SET-PIECES...|
Newman volleyed a fine deep Paul Smith free-kick too high at the left upright, before the visitors really latched onto the controls of the proceedings and subsequently scored an important first goal after several attempts had gone begging. First a short free-kick led to a dipping Worthing shot dropping just over the crossbar, following a foul by Joel Hobbs on the sprightly Harding who then drove way too high himself. Gareth Bowley was replaced by Chris Gwynne for the guests and soon Norcott raced out of his penalty-box to tackle the hustling Harding and succeeded. Harding’s hard work led to Herbert firing wide, Macpherson deflected a fine 20 yard Sirrell effort over his own goal-frame and with Sirrell even more prominent, Herbert drove an effort off target. The goal stemmed from a corner on the right by Worthing which saw the leaning Moon wrestle his head in front of Joel Hobbs’ challenge and nod the ball downwards past Norcott.
|ANT SMITH: CAUTIONED...|
The ‘flare’ and booze-can incidents then interrupted the proceedings and several fellows became really angry and violence looked like spoiling a good contest but after a long Worthing free-kick bounced past a post, with Norcott stranded, the hosts really might have settled the issue in their favour. Paul Smith’s two 40 yard lobbed efforts, both claimed by Bell (no clanger made) came before and after a great chance was squandered by Ant ‘Blobby’ Smith, who took a smart pass from the evasive Rich Smith at inside-right but the wide-player struck his slightly angled drive high into the side-netting. Twice Rich Smith got away on the right but received no support and the visitors so nearly capitalised when Herbert’s swinging boot onto Moon’s back-header went wide and Moon’s header over the challenge again of Joel Hobbs was hacked clear from in front of his own goal by Raider Dale Goddard.
|RICH SMITH: DOWN...|
A break on the Worcester right saw a poor pass inside by Ant Smith then Rich Smith was no doubt disappointed with his finish when he battled past Gwynne but lifted his shot from inside-left over the target. Mitch Butterworth then replaced Rich Smith who had taken a couple of knocks already and suddenly, the visitors tore into their opponents.
|RICH SMITH: DOWN AGAIN...|
|RICH SMITH: THE FINAL MISS...|
Harding cut inside from the left and Sirrell did brilliantly to keep the ball in at the right byeline with a sliding centre which the hovering and unmarked Wildig headed into the left corner of the net, with the home defence in disarray and then after Norcott fumbled a cross out for a corner on the right and Moon headed the set-piece wide of the far post, Paul Smith appeared to be cautioned. There was no outlet for the Raiders to take the ball into corners now that Rich Smith had departed and so, with seconds remaining, the Lads took advantage to earn a just point.
A pass through the home defence by who else but Worthing, was flicked on by Herbert’s head and resulted in Norcott racing out of goal to meet the chasing Harding but the ‘keeper was unable to collect the ball which rebounded into the path of the once more unmarked Wildig, whose low left foot shot from 12 yards rolled into the right corner of the net, leaving the offside Harding to jump over the ball so as not to be considered interfering…
|3-3: WILDIG AGAIN...|
The game ended and I guess that the result might just have prevented any further shenanigans erupting between spectators and opponents, for there seemed to be an aura of shock at the final outcome.
Congratulations to Hereford for their league success and it was clear to see why; their midfielders were highly effective, Herbert was a total handful and Harding was a pacy problem for opposition defenders. The Raiders competed well but were overrun in the trenches at times, although the movement in attack of Rich Smith and the sniping of Newman kept them in the game. Joel Hobbs was a rock at the back for his team and Macpherson was quietly impressive on occasions.
Me? No flares, no booze, just a strong mug of tea, a full English breakfast and fried bread at home as I watched Barcelona win on TV…
It’s what I do…