I was able to attend this Midland Hellenic League Division 1 match with my father, whilst visiting my parents in the Cotswolds. Having seen a few games in this division, over the course of this season, it was good to come over to Petersfield Park to see this clash of the third and fourth placed teams.
Cheltenham Saracens stood nine points and a place below Worcester Raiders at kick off, although they had two games in hand. With a win today it was still possible to claw back the gap to the promotion places. Worcester however came into the game with an impressive goal difference of 45, whereas Cheltenham have struggled a little to score this season, with a goal difference of just 19.
Kai Mahon has the unique experience of having played for both these teams this season, scoring 12 in 14 for Cheltenham and then 14 in 15 games for Worcester. Isaac Cooper has top scored for Worcester, with 21 goals in 27 games. For Cheltenham the talismanic top scorer, in this campaign, has been Ryan Dobbins, with 17 goals in 28 matches.
The Petersfield Park ground is set on the edge of Cheltenham, and while it is not a huge ground it does boast two seated and covered stands, a covered standing area, refreshment stand and club house, as well as a good quality grass pitch and floodlighting.
The game started with Worcester Raiders on the front foot. They created chances early on and looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
As early as the 6th minute the Worcester Raiders got their reward, when number 7, Isaac Cooper curled a goal in, with the aplomb and confidence of a David Beckham effort, to put the away team 0-1 ahead.
In the 11th minute a headed goal by left back, Sam Carey, from a corner, put Worcester Raiders two ahead.
The rest of the half was pretty much dominated by the away side and on 40 minutes, a penalty was awarded in their favour. Worcester Raider’s Isaac Cooper, scored his second of the game, with a fine finish from the spot, to ensure that at half time the away team went in three goals ahead.
In the 75th minute Isaac Cooper had the perfect chance to secure his hat trick, but saw his second penalty kick of the game, well saved by the Cheltenham Keeper, Joe Wright.
With five minutes to play, after a bad challenge, a brawl broke out and after some time and a conversation between the referee and his assistants, five players were yellow carded, including a second yellow for the Cheltenham Saracens’ Jordan Bryan.
After five more bad tempered minutes, the game ended, with the score still Cheltenham Saracens 0, Worcester Raiders 3. Worcester’s win ensured they applied pressure to the top two.