After a day of torrential downpours it was, somewhat miraculously, glorious sunshine that greeted Lincoln and Worcester for this opening premier clash. Unfortunately for Lincoln however, only one team could do the conditions justice.
Even before kick-off Worcester were clearly the more professional outfit with sharp, snappy passing and a strong emphasise on communication. Lincoln meanwhile, had a more relaxed approach and it was no surprise that Worcester dominated the play right from the off.
After only 30 seconds a smart flick from Worcester forward Rich Adams forced Lincoln to concede a corner. A beautiful ball was swung in deep to the far post where Charles Sheldon towered above the Lincoln defence to nod home Worcester’s first.
Worcester forced a third corner on 5 minutes and it was another back post finish, this time from Matt Sinett and with his right foot, that secured Worcester’s second. Worcester continued to have the better of it for the rest of the half, the physicality of midfielder Tim Grady winning the aerial battle while Lucian Weston neatly picked up the pieces. Pacy striker Adams linked up well with fellow forward Desai, but for all their pressure Worcester could not find a third before half time, despite hitting the woodwork on no fewer than three occasions.
Lincoln were lucky to go in only two behind, their best opportunities coming through striker Nick Long who was a constant menace to the Worcester defence.
In the opening period of the second half Lincoln did begin to find their feet, midfielder Jeff French matching the physical presence of Grady and forward Martin Toolberry finding his passing range. This upturn in fortune did not last long though and the comeback goal eluded them.
Worcester reasserted their authority with a sublime through ball from Grady, which was coolly tucked away by Adams.
Lincoln then proceeded to practice their one-twos with the Worcester woodwork. An audacious overhead attempt by Long fell to winger Ploughman, whose shot cannoned off the crossbar only for the now upstanding Long to hit the post. Worcester broke and punished these missed opportunities with Desai drilling a shot straight into the top corner from a tight angle.
Lincoln did ruin the complete performance by Worcester by scoring a consolation on 75 minutes, John Webb tapping in after a fumble by the Worcester keeper. But Worcester had the last word when Weston fired in a cracker from the edge of the area and sealed the 5-1 victory.
Worcester’s captain Danny Plaxton was thrilled with the result, “This is certainly the best football we’ve played for a while and it was great to see the team come together despite several new faces. I can see no reason why we can’t win a third successive league title.”
Confident words from the Worcester captain and a performance to match, suggest Worcester are the side to beat in this year’s premier.