Worcester City head into the final game of the season against Eastleigh relying on results elsewhere to avoid relegation. Having struggled in the bottom half of the table all season, City have to hope Lewes fail to win against Hampton & Richmond and they can defeat Eastleigh at St Georges Lane.
Carl Heeley’s side had been hovering above the relegation zone for months however, Lewes have found a run of form at the right time. Prior to last weeks defeat against Bath City at The Dripping Pan, The Rooks had gone on a four game run without a defeat, including a 2-1 away victory against City. Following a disastrous campaign last season and a similar story at the start of this, Lewes look like a club on the up. Despite well publicised financial difficulties, the South East club have cut their cloth accordingly and their young side are starting to gel at just the right time.
Worcester City’s season however, has been in decline over recent weeks with both good performances and results being all to scarce. Three consecutive defeats has seen them slide into the relegation zone, trailing Lewes by two points with only a win for them and Hampton keeping them in the division. Lewes’ motivation will be the thought of being relegated twice in two seasons and Worcester’s will be their long standing association with the tier below the Blue Square Premier. One of the relegated teams may be granted a reprieve on June 12th, when a final decision will be made on the structure of the Blue Square Leagues following the demise of Farsley Celtic and Chester, however neither side will want to rely on this.
City boss Heeley has been outspoken in recent weeks, not only about his teams form but also the way non-league football operates. However, prior to Saturdays key clash he said “We have to try and be relaxed and go about our own game and then hope that the other result goes our way.
“We have an opportunity to finish the season on a high and that is what we will be looking to do.”
No doubt City will be hoping to deliver a performance for their long suffering home support and highs have been few and far between this season, despite the improvement since Heeley taking the reigns. For season after season, City have consistently recorded some of the highest attendances, despite their lack of success. Relegation could see a blow to such figures, meaning a drop in revenue that few clubs can afford. However, what better motivation can a team need than to deliver a win in-front of their home support, on the last day of the season, to avoid relegation?
Saturday’s match will no doubt show whether City are deserving of a place in the division and many will be playing for their future’s, at The Lane and elsewhere. Too often have they relied on a handful of players to see them through. Stand-in Captain Graham Ward has been in fine form all season, deserving of his promotion and Clyde and Daniel have provided a much needed work ethic. Wilding and Dinsmore have consistently delivered further forward, with runs and passing worthy of the Football League. However, on occasions when things have not clicked too many players have gone missing for ninety minutes. The Player of the Season will be announced on Saturday evening and it would be a miracle if one of the above did not pick up the award.
Carl Heeley will be hoping for a positive response on Saturday, as although relying on the result at Hampton, City can only stay up if they can deliver at St Georges Lane. The nucleus of the side remains intact however, City will be without long term absentees Carter and Kemp with McGregor having to prove his fitness. Adaggio could start once more, with either Dinsmore or Elvins to partner him in attack, however Walker could make way if Heeley opts for a three man front line.
City’s opponents are sitting in 11th place on 60 points, with little to play for in their final fixture. They have picked up seven points in their last 3 fixtures, taking a point in the last of these agaisnt Bishop’s Stortford. On current form they sit in 13th place (Last six games) and have displayed a level of consistency that City fans can only wish for. Incidentally City are 16th and Lewes are 4th. Tom Jordan, their midfield anchorman has played 42 games for the South Coast side this season and their main danger comes from Richard Gillespie, who has scored in 17 in his 33 appearances this term.Gillespie is hot property in non-league football and with the hope of securing a playoff spot next season, Eastleigh announced his contract extension on the pitch prior to their last fixture.
In short, this is a must win game for City. Despite what happens elsewhere, the important thing is that come 4:45PM on Saturday, that all involved have done everything possible to ensure their Blue Square South status is maintained for another season. Whatever the outcome, Heeley has alot of work to do over the summer months as do all behind the scenes, to ensure that City have a long term future. No doubt a bumper crowd on Saturday will go some way to ensuring this. City clearly have the ability to get a result on Saturday however, the key is the commitment from all eleven players.
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