Football: Baxter and Stock put Blues into the next round

Michael Alhadeff – Sports Reporter 29 October 2009

The Blues kicked off their cup campaign in shaky fashion yesterday. A victory was the minimum requirement against a Worcester 3rd team in the first round of the cup. The Blues will hope for an improved performance in the next round.

In a lively game, helped by perfect playing conditions, the teams made a good start. The midfield dominated the early stages; with Jack Hylands showing enough potential to suggest that he could claim a regular place this season. He showed some good touches but unfortunately had to come off early in the second half because of injury. The game eventually sprang to life, however, with a good passing move by the Blues. The build-up warranted a goal but after initially being denied, the Blues captain could only head over with an open goal at his mercy. Luckily for him, and the Blues, a goal was soon forthcoming. After another good passing move, Baxter expertly finished to give the Blues the lead.

One might have expected the Blues to push on; they were the superior side and had the opportunity to build on last week’s good performance. Instead the Blues lost their direction and were deservedly punished midway through the first. A ball that should have been shepherded out by Maynard was allowed to be kept in.

Despite the suggestion of a push, the opposition pulled it back to the edge of the box where a superb shot was smashed into the top left corner. Goalkeeper Ellis had no chance. Nonetheless he produced a solid enough performance to suggest that the Blues have strength in depth this season. However what will not be pleasing to Blues fans is that by the half-time whistle it was the Blues who needed it the most.

After the break, the Blues performance picked up. Indeed two goals scored soon after settled the contest. Again the Blues had the best of the early opportunities with Johnson producing a driving run.

The growing dominance soon paid off with a Blues player unfairly brought down inside the box. The resultant penalty was calmly tucked away by Baxter whose two goals were rich reward for a superb game. A third was followed soon after with Stock latching on to a good through ball. It was a good finish but the opposition keeper really should have done better. He did though redeem himself later on with some great saves, including an excellent double save.

By the end, tiredness was beginning to tell, especially on the Worcester side, with the Blues finishing the game the better. Stock was indeed unfortunate not to add to the score with a great run.

Speaking to his team after the game, the Blues captain was eager to impress on them that it was “a high tempo after half time” which had change the game”.

He was disappointed that they had not “scored more goals to put them to bed” but was pleased that they had made it “three out of three.”

Michael Alhadeff – Sports Reporter