Tividale 0-1 Worcester City
04/02/20 Att: A dubiously low 102
Working a different schedule to everybody else, one where I usually work weekends and have a couple of midweek days off certainly has its pros and cons. The shops aren’t full of dawdling morons, the pubs aren’t packed with office types looking for a bit of fun to quell the tedium of a weekend playing happy families. But on the other hand it makes it hard for me to make a regular Saturday home game, and away games are certainly out of the question of a weekend.
Naturally this leaves me looking for every way possible to try and scratch that football itch in my free time. Usually there is either a Moors midweek game or a tasty Blues away fixture where I can sit in the back of the car and get mildly sozzled on IrnBru and Captain Morgan’s whilst my dad drives to somewhere desolate oop north before the inevitable disappointing loss.
Tuesday however was different; no Solihull midweek fixture and with Blues asking £20 to go and watch a FA Cup replay against a lower division side there was no chance I was going there, especially now that novelty has worn off.
Left in a pickle as to what to do I was resorted to look for a game I could go to as a neutral. I was initially tempted to go and check out Newport County vs Leicester City U23s in the Johnstone’s- Paint-Auto-Leyland-Windscreens-DAF.com EFL Trophy Shield, as it’d be a new ground for me in the quest to “do the 92”. The distance however, was a little off-putting and the fact that it is in Wales put the final nail in the coffin.
A couple of local games did catch my eye; Alvechurch vs Tamworth or Tividale vs Worcester City.
Alvechurch unbelievably wanted £10 to get in, which caught me by surprise. I could get into Tividale for £3 and now working with an ex-Worcester City goalkeeper and coach I decided to venture over the wrong side of the M5 and check them out. I’d not seen Worcester play since before they sold the magnificent St George's Lane and took voluntary relegation out of the Conference North.
I’d not known the ground was where it is, right alongside the A41 from the motorway to Dudley, despite having to drive past it nearly every day for a year. I arrived at The Beeches just prior to kick off and was greeted with what can only be described as a working men's club with a football pitch out back. I paid the old chap in his repurposed Evening Mail newspaper kiosk my entry fee and made my way across the beer garden to go and check out the local standard of Bovril. It was much to cold for a pint.
Soon after, the teams emerged, Worcester in their snazzy all green Adidas change strip and Tividale in an eerily reminiscent yellow and light blue outfit.
With Tividale languishing in the relegation places and Worcester in mid-table the match lived up to expectation with the first half hardly anything to write about. Standard Midland League football, neither team able to get a foothold in the game thanks to the constant head-tennis, hospital passes and hoofball (I felt right at home) which is probably due to the state of the pitch. Not only torn to shreds and uneven but also in what appeared to be a valley, where you’re kicking uphill both ends.
The second half was certainly livelier however. Soon after the restart the Tividale goalkeeper was called into action, swiftly coming off his line to save the day after a punt forward caught the defence unawares. They were also threatening at the other end off the pitch and should’ve taken the lead after the forward blazed over the bar after his strike partner did well to find him in acres of space with the goal begging from 6 yards out.
It was Worcester who broke the deadlock though. Again after the defences failed to deal with a long ball where the centre partnership left the ball for each other to deal with and the nippy City forward Sean Brain took full advantage, collected the ball, rounded the onrushing keeper and slotted the ball home from 2 yards out. The travelling Worcester fan went wild.
Worcester rightfully shut up shop after the goal and kept Tividale well at bay until the 85th minute when the City keeper (who was only playing after the original ‘keeper fell ill 30 minutes before kick off) produced a fine save tipping over a long range effort. The only bright spark in an otherwise largely toothless Tividale attacking threat.
All in all a decent night, its been a while since I’ve been to a game from that level, and I would certainly visit Tividale again should I be stuck for a match to go to. I’d be fearful if I was a fan of theirs though, they look like they’re sliding towards relegation without much of a fight.
Worcester did look a class above to be honest, they seem to be finding their feet at this level now after a few years of financial hardship and various groundshares. They seem settled playing at Bromsgrove, and with the new ground back in Worcester now approved hopefully they can get back to where they belong.
I’d still rather be a bear than a pear mind.