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Gornal Athletic 0 Worcester City 4
GORNAL Athletic went out of the FA Cup in the second qualifying round despite a gallant display against Worceter City.
The hosts gave their Conference North opponents plenty of trouble in the first half with Chris Rabone and Marvin Nisbett both going close.
But Michael Taylor put the visitors ahead just before the break and Mike Symons added a second early in the second period.
Further strikes from Jacob Rowe and Charlie Reece completed the scoring.
Gornal has never seen the like before, from the narrow streets packed with cars and a delayed start as the 400-strong crowd waited to get through the one working turnstile, this had all the makings of a special day.
And while in the end there was no giant-killing, the hosts can take great heart from a performance in which they never made things easy for the visitors. When the dust settles, Ian Rowe’s men can look back with pride and as the club continue to make forward strides, more days like this may not be far away.
They were the better team in the first half and had Marvin Nisbett placed his shot from 12 yards out inside the post, rather than just wide, things might have been very different.
But Taylor’s opener came at the perfect time for Worcester, who began the second period with far more purpose and were eventually able to wear down the spirited hosts.
The visitors had also enjoyed a strong start to the first half, subjecting the home defence to severe scrutiny in the opening 10 minutes.
Danny Glover sent a weak effort wide after a neat exchange with Matt Breeze and was the denied by Pemberton, who was quickly out to smother after the striker had been set clear by Ellis Deeney.
Taylor should have done better than direct a free header from 10 yards out wide of the upright.
The hosts were under pressure but got the release they needed when visiting skipper Stuart Whitehead gave the ball away in midfield, allowing Chris Rabone to skip away and launch a shot from 20 yards out which Glyn Thompson had to tip over the bar.
That seemed to give the hosts confidence and they began to give the visitors trouble from a series of corners.
Just past the half-hour mark, Nisbett had a glorious chance to open the scoring but shot wide on the turn from around 12 yards out after nice work by Wherton.
Taylor nearly found an opening for Worcester only to be denied by a woeful first touch. But much more goalmouth action was taking place at the other end, Wherton volleyed over and Nisbett couldn’t quite get enough power on a close range header after meeting Kristian Green’s cross.
Gornal’s growing belief perhaps proved their downfall. As they committed more men forward, Glover won the ball for the visitors out on the right and his pass over the top found Taylor in acres of space and he held off the attentions of Curtis Tilt before firing past Pemberton to give the visitors a half-time lead they scarcely deserved.
Taylor was denied another chance by an alert Pemberton, who rushed out and punched the ball to safety at the start of the second period.
The Worcester man was also close with a far post header while Gornal too were not without their chances in a lively opening to the half. Wherton fired just over the bar while Rabone was also off target with an acrobatic effort.
But the hosts were given a mountain to climb when Symons made it two, though there was plenty of controversy over the strike. Under pressure, Pemberton could only punch Deeney’s corner straight up in the air and Symons headed into the corner from a yard out. Pemberton, his team-mates and the entire home bench were adamant the keeper had been fouled but referee Mark Ackerman waved their protests away.
To their credit, Gornal refused to crumble but there was the growing sense of futility in their attackes and Symons should have put the game beyond doubt when he prodded wide after going clear. Soon after Rowe did, nodding home unmarked from substitute Greg Mills’s corner. Pemberton then saved strongly from Reece’s shot to prevent almost an immediate fourth.
Gornal kept plugging away and Michael Perks went close with a shot from distance.
In the closing stages the hosts pushed forward looking for a consolation and Ravi Sangha saw a fierce drive blocked.
But this inevitably left space at the back and when the ball was given away, Reece ran clear before sliding his finish past Pemberton.
GORNAL: Pemberton, Green K, Wood, Tilt, Waterhouse (c), Wilkhoo (Gater 64), Perks, Wherton (Sangha 84), Nisbett, Martin C, Rabone (Weyman 64), Subs: O’Kelly, Nicholls, Bennett, Martin M.
WORCESTER: Thompson, Weir, Deeney, Thorley, Whitehead (c), Rowe, Taylor (Mills 64), Elvins, Symons, Glover (Edwards 78), Breeze (Reece 64) Subs not used: Ayres, Khan, Sargeant.
Goals: Taylor 44, Symons 58, Rowe 76, Reece 90.