Friday, 29 July 2016
A new season beckons on the horizon and today I have decided to visit my closest local team in the shape of Worcester Raiders, who ply their trade in Division 1 of the West Midlands Regional League.
When I arrive at Claines Lane, right on the northern edge of Worcester I am immediately worried when I can't hear any activity from the direction of the ground. It's 1:45 pm and the kick-off was advertised for 2:00 pm. I walk through the small car park and see that there are 2 teams going through their warm up exercises. Today's opponents were advertised a few days ago as being Hereford Lads Club.
I see one of the match officials nearby and ask him about the kick-off time as nobody appears to be in a hurry and there are only a few minutes to go. He tells me that it will be a 2:30 pm start instead and because Lads Club cancelled, this fixture was hastily rearranged and now the Raiders will be playing Sutton United from Div 2 of the Midland Football League. It will be tough on the players today as the temperature is hitting the 25 degree mark.
I had seen the Raiders play in February this year soon after I had lost my previous camera. They had lost that day and had been hovering near the bottom of the league table. Shortly after that they improved greatly in the last third of the season and finished in a respectable mid table position.
At 2:30 pm the teams are ready on the field with the Raiders in their blue strip and the visitors decked out in green and black.
After an even first 10 minutes it's the home team who score first through their top striker, Richard Smith who slots the ball home from the left.
Sutton go close soon after when the Raiders keeper has to make a good block and Richard Smith then shoots just wide in the very next attack.
Sutton look menacing in attack at times and after 30 minutes are awarded a penalty when their No.16 is barged over in the area. The kick is duly dispatched with the Raiders keeper sent the wrong way (as shown below).
In this half during a drinks break allowed by the ref, the linesman on my side of the pitch comes over to me and asks if I'm taking photos for Sutton United. I tell him I'm from Worcester and then he realises that we met before in February. It's a guy called George MacPherson whose son Neil plays for the Raiders. George has been roped in today to run the line and he tells me that he is now the Club Secretary. He says the club are planning on getting promotion this season.
In the 33rd minute the Raiders No.8 has a shot cleared off the line after goal mouth melee and in the next attack they have a shot that hits the bar.
Not to be outdone Sutton then hit a post from a free kick but 2 minutes before the break, it's that man Richard Smith to score his and the Raiders second goal after being put through by a great pass on the left (as shown below).
Soon after Richard Smith cuts the ball back after a good move down the right only for the ball to be shot over the bar.
It's been quite an even end to end encounter so far with Worcester Raiders probably just deserving their half time lead.
The hosts lose their lead straight after the restart though when Sutton's No.9 shoots home after a cute pass lets him in on the left.
After 65 minutes Sutton take the lead when one of their players chases after the ball with Raiders defender with the keeper coming out. I can't see what happens next except the ball ends up in the back of the net and the goal stands.
After 32 minutes the Raiders No.12 is put through on the right but his shot is saved.
With several substitutions in this half, the game fizzles out and Sutton United end up winning in what has been a good work out for both sides.
Worcester Raiders certainly look good in attack, especially when Richard Smith is playing but their defence does look shaky at times.
Match attendance: approx 25
Match entrance fee: free
Match programme: none available
Match entertainment: 7/10