A spirited performance

Worcester Park 2 Moor Mead Athletic 2.

Moor Mead produced a spirited performance to draw with the team that knocked them out of the cup just weeks ago. But they learned a tough lesson after surrendering a commanding two goal lead at half time. Worcester Park were a skillful, physical side who provided a very stern test for a team still feeling their way at the top level. Moor Mead made a bright start, well organised and with the midfield linking up and covering for each other well. Miles set up William, who fired wide, and Sam saw his low shot saved. The Worcester Park keeper then tipped away a curving shot by Miles. At the other end William made a last gasp clearance to foil a swift passing move by Worcester Park. Both sides pinged the ball around to great effect in a high tempo match, battling for ascendancy in a way that brought to mind a Murray-Djokovic duel. Sam had a powerful shot blocked by the keeper, and William fired the rebound over. Miles forced a foul on the edge of the box, and was unlucky to see his chipped free kick hit the bar. His long-range shot was then squirmed away by the Worcester Park keeper.

The opposition went close following confusion at a corner, the ball spinning over the bar. Kiran and Sam made important interceptions at the back, as Worcester Park pressed. Moor Mead took the lead when Sam laced a lovely ball through to James, whose cheeky toe poke beat the on-rushing keeper. But Worcester Park responded well. Alec got down well to save a long-range shot, and produced an impressive diving stop, tipping a raking shot past the post.

However, Moor Mead doubled their lead when Miles broke away and buried the ball high into the top corner from the right flank.

The home fans were nonplussed: "He didn't mean that," one muttered. Was it a cross, or a shot? Who cares. Moor Mead finished the half with their tails up, and seemingly in control.

But if the first half was Andy Murray, the beginning of the second was more Jamie Delgado. Worcester Park began to dominate, and at times the Parakeets were in danger of being overrun. The home side cut the deficit with a flowing passing move finished off by a thumping drive into the roof of the net. And despite a dancing run and angled shot by Sam at the other end, they were level in short order. Moor Mead failed to clear a cross, and the striker made no mistake from the center of the box. The Moor Mead goal came under siege, with the opponents camped out in the final third. A long-range shot hit a post, and a drive from even further out crashed against the bar. To their huge credit, Moor Mead weathered the storm, and came back into the game in its latter stages. Mani and Miles twice combined well, and the Worcester Park keeper pulled off a fine save from Mani low down at his near post. Kiran made another tremendous block at the back, and Alec somehow tipped a vicious swerving shot on to the post. James could have won it at the death, but struck it wide.

In truth Worcester Park didn't deserve to lose. But Moor Mead also deserved something for withstanding such a searching examination. No final Sunday glory, but no shock first round five set defeat either.