Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Today sees the much anticipated clash between local rivals, Droitwich Spa and Worcester Raiders in the semi-finals of the Worcestershire Junior Cup. Both teams have been in good form recently and Droitwich won against the Raiders in the Final of the competition last year by 3-2 in a very close game.

The Raiders chairman, Kevin Jenkins, has said in the local press that his team are looking to get revenge this time round. The 'Salt Men' of Droitwich will probably have different ideas though, especially after their record 10-1 league victory last week.

It's good weather today (a bit chilly) and after my short train journey from Worcester, have a cooked all day breakfast in town and then walk to the Spa's Briar Mill ground.

When I get there 10 minutes before kick-off (@2pm) I  have a chat with the Raiders secretary, George McPherson. He is a bit worried as his side have 2 regular defenders out today.

There looks to be a healthy 3 figure crowd today and I just know it's going to be a close game. Finally the 2 teams come out, with Droitwich in their home strip of red and black and the visitors in their alternative dark blue kit.

Straight from the kick-off, James Lemon puts through Nick Seabourne on the Raiders goal and his effort goes just the wrong side of the left hand post.

Both sides in the first 20 minutes fashion chances but it's the hosts who go in to the lead when in an attack down the left, the Worcester keeper, Dan Stevens, rushes out to the edge of his area to meet the Spa striker, James Lemon, changes his mind but it's too late as Lemon chips the stranded Stevens for an easy goal. 

From then on it's Droitwich who gain the upper hand and it's Lemon again in the 28th minute to score after being put through by Seabourne. Mr. McPherson's fears seem to have credibility. It gets worse for the visitors when the lively Luke Molloy heads home just 2 minutes later.

    (James Lemon hugs fellow forward, Nick Seabourne after scoring his 2nd goal)

Worcester Raiders have another set back when their No.5, Richard Tomkins, has to go off (as shown below) with an injury.

Fortunately it's not all doom and gloom for them, as they show their fighting spirit in the 42nd minute, by reducing the deficit when Martin Newman hits home from close range after the ball falls to him after a free kick from the left.

So 3-1 for 'the Spa' at half-time but Worcester Raiders are not down and out just yet.

Indeed they are getting more in to the game in the second half and after 13 minutes have a shot cleared off the line. Just 2 minutes later and they pull back another goal when their captain, Joel Hobbs, scores with a great near post header from a corner.

The almost inevitable equaliser comes from Martin Newman who smashes home his shot in to the roof of the net after good work on the right by Anthony Smith.

          (Martin Newman is mobbed by his team mates after hitting the equaliser)

Droitwich don't look such an attacking force in this half and a saved shot from Lemon is their only decent effort.

                                        (Worcester Raiders clear from this corner)

With full time and the prospect of a penalty shoot out looming, it's Raiders who seal a remarkable come back when their midfielder, Matt Tyler, shoots in to the net from the edge of the penalty area.

A few minutes later and it's all over. The Raiders are in the final and will face new club Montpellier, next April.

Most of the spectators here today would have agreed that this game was worthy of a final and it was also a great advert for the local football scene. So now Spa will have to focus more on their league campaign and Raiders will be looking to cut the points deficit with Hereford Lads Club in Div 1 of the West Midlands League.

Match entrance fee: free
Match attendance: 145
Match programme: £1
Match entertainment: 9/10

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