Sat 22nd Dec, 2007 - Worcester (3) v Gateshead (0)

Game day came for the revenge match and we're ahead in the pressroom as well as with the bookies. Chris Cornes looks nervous for Worcester as he hasn't scored in over 9 matches. Traore' is still up front for them partnering Cornes to create a fearsome duo. Their wingers are greased lightning and will also cause some headaches.

We're on a 6 game unbeaten run since changing to a 5-3-2 formation, and a a 4-0 annihilation of Altrincham last Tuesday got us in the right mood. Baxter and Curtis are towers of strength at the back and Webster keeps banging them in up front. The 8-strong box at the back is proving to be a winner against regular 4-4-2's. Worcester seem to alternate between a defensive 4-4-2 and a more attacking 4-3-1-2 with a floating AM. Both formations should be OK for us and we've put in extra effort in training trying to counter the midfielder-come-striker. Worcester are also known for their possession game, fighting for the ball at every opportunity and passing frugally. It's going to be a tough one.

The game starts oddly expansive with many counterattacking moves lofting the ball from one side to the other. We're zinging them past the goal and unlucky to be still goalless by 10 minutes, but fall behind to a great knockdown and shoot by Traore'. The goal gives Worcester some confidence and our defensive formation is no longer engendering us to chase from behind. Worcester cooly control the ball to lock up the game going into half time with hardly letting in another shot on goal. Baxter and Logan are both carrying yellows to the break and it's going to be a dicey 2nd half.

9 minutes in and Hughes also picks up a yellow, making his set of 5 to trade in for a sideline spot next week. Ravenscroft backpasses to Black from the ensuing free kick, then hoists it up front for Traore' to head to a charging Cornes. He slots it and you can feel the game break. We're down by 2 and both strikers are firing for them. We got caught out slightly by Cornes and Traore' swapping positions for that play, but we'd practiced for that as they used to do it while I was at Worcester. I'm dissappointed the guys didn't pick it.

Hanson also suffers the yellows, but there's more problems than collecting cards when Cornes breaks free from the halfway line to thump his second home. 3-0 down and card trouble holding us back from going all out. Harwood also pick up a yellow and it's looking like the ref has our number. 6 with cards! Hughes is the first to feel Young's wrath with a second bookable offense sending him for an early shower. Young has lost control of the game and it's turning ugly out there. I sub out some of the guys with cards to get some fresh perspectives into the game, but Logan also picks up his second in the next phase of play! 9 men see out the last 10 minutes and I'm surprised we don't bleed more goals as we're just running from the ref.

A lot to take out of this game. Not too much of it positive though. We're licking our wounds from that one and need some easy games to recover. Even though Hughes picked up a double yellow in the game, he's still got more to offer and it feels as though he's playing within himself. He's our paceman in the middle and should really be dominating the play. He just seems to get caught up in the roll of the game instead of keeping above it like he should. We'll need to look more closely at counterattacking or possibly wing play as we had precious few opportunities to see the ball in the back of the net when we're getting behind and the opponent sits back. There's always a challenge ...

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