Worcester City 0, Stockport County 0: Hatters have a mountain to climb after second successive draw

Worcester City v Stockport County

Stockport County find themselves four points off the National League North play-off places after two draws in four days.

The Hatters’ holiday weekend ended on Easter Monday as it had started on Good Friday – with a disappointing draw against a side in the bottom half of the table.

The seventh-placed Hatters remain unbeaten since the end of February, but the stalemate at relegation-threatened Worcester’s temporary Bromsgrove home was their sixth in nine matches – leaving them four points adrift of the play-off positions with just two fixtures to complete.

County took to the field in a 4-3-3 formation, and showing three changes from the Edgeley Park starting line-up against Telford three days earlier.

Ian Ormson was preferred to Ben Hinchliffe in goal, while Max Cartwright and Kay Odejayi – making, respectively, their first league starts since November and January – replaced Courtney Meppen-Walters and the injured Connor Hampson.

Worcester City v Stockport County
Harry Brazel on the move (Paul Bell/M Photographic)


Kicking uphill in the first half on an uneven surface, the Hatters started brightly – and after 10 minutes, leading scorer Danny Lloyd saw his low free-kick from the right side of Worcester’s box kept out by home goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan.

But the hosts proceeded to enjoy the better share of chances for the remaining period until the break – with Ormson being kept a good deal busier than his counterpart Vaughan.

County’s replacement Number One had to be at his best in diving to catch a header from Kuda Muskwe, following Jordan Murphy’s cross from the left, as well as parrying a later shot from close range after home captain Tyler Weir had played Murphy through on goal.

Enjoying the advantage of the Victoria Ground’s downhill incline after the break, the Hatters re-emerged with a new 4-2-3-1 shape, but found themselves under further pressure as Worcester – rather belying a record that boasted only one victory in all competitions since the end of November – continued to create more opportunities in the final third.

Worcester City v Stockport County
Max Cartwright on the ball for Stockport (Paul Bell/M Photographic)

Again, Ormson was to come to County’s rescue – spectacularly tipping over an effort from Cieron Keane and deflecting another by Muskwe around the right post.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining, and against the run of play, County came close to edging ahead when a speculative shot by Scott Duxbury from 18 yards out rattled the home crossbar.

But, ultimately, a second draw within three days saw the Hatters leave one sloping pitch to face, in the next two weekends ahead of them, a metaphorical mountain to climb.

FULL-TIME: Worcester City 0, Stockport County 0
Team: Ormson, Ross (C), Duxbury, Montrose, Clarke, Cartwright, Ball, Winter (Meppen-Walters, 45+3), Odejayi, Amis (Brazel, 69), Lloyd.
Unused Subs: Hinchliffe, Etches, Gonzales.
Booked: Lloyd.
Attendance: 922 (508 away fans).