WORCESTER – 1
ST CATZ – 2
The clash of last season’s premier and first division champions ended in a disappointing result for a jaded Worcester side who looked far from their fluid best in tricky conditions. Catz on the other hand continued their impressive form in college football’s top league.
The battered pitch and constant drizzle appeared to work in Catz’ favour as Worcester struggled early on to get the ball down and play their passing game. The match started at a high pace with both sides sizing up their opponents. Catz formulated the first real attack of the game, holding onto possession and driving back the Worcester defence, yet the solid base of centre-backs Sinnett and Stevens ensured Worcester held strong and repelled the barrage of shots from outside of the box.
The game quickly opened up, and after 20 minutes of trying to work with the pitch, both sides looked to exploit the aerial threats of target men Adam Healy and Alan
Macnaughton to good effect. One such attack saw Healy link up well with the pacey Richard Adams down the right so set up a good cross into the area, which nobody managed to latch onto.
Yet it was Catz who struck first in a tight first half, as the Worcester defence simply failed to deal with an attack around the edge of the box on 31 minutes and Carl Assmundson waltzed through to slot the ball past the ‘keeper.
However, the league champions were in no mood to be rolled over by the newly promoted Catz and replied instantly with a headed goal from Healy after a fine cross from Oli Gee.
Worcester seemed to have woken up after conceding and proceeded to pepper the Catz area, leading to a clear-cut chance for Portuguese winger Mauro ‘Ramos’ Pereira, which perhaps he should have converted.
Catz skipper O’Keeffe-O’Donovan would have been pleased with his team’s first half performance, but Worcester leader Sinnett wanted to see more, and clearly got his wish. Worcester began the second half just as they ended the first and Oli Gee struck the bar with a beautiful 25-yard effort. The champions seemed to have found their rhythm.
The game continued in a scrappy vein, with chances going both ways-most notably Sinnett heading just wide from a corner and Macnaughton testing Worcester ‘keeper Pound from distance.
The fixture was finely balanced and it was clear that neither side would simply settle for the point. Yet Worcester’s frustration at their failure to deliver the final ball and to create any solid chances began to tell and soon it was Catz who were on top once more. Their battling efforts finally paid off as a free-kick in a dangerous position on 70 minutes took a couple of deflections en-route to the Worcester goal and nestled in the bottom right hand corner.
Although Sinnett rallied his troops for one last push, the Catz back line held tight for a massive three points, whereas Worcester were left rueing wasted possession whilst on top.
Captain Matt Sinnett was disappointed not to have even salvaged a point: “At times, we played some really nice football but at the end of the day we just lacked the firepower up front today. Still, the season is far from over and we can still win this league.”
Champions Worcester then will be looking to get onto the front after a surprisingly disappointing start to the season while Catz’s march up the JCR Premier League table looks set to continue.