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Nuneaton 1 Worcester City 2

By Danielle Hicks on Nov 22, 10 08:51 AM

MANOR Park hero in 2001, Triton Arena villain in 2010 - that's former Boro favourite Marc McGregor, whose last gasp goal for Worcester put paid to Nuneaton's FA Trophy hopes at the first hurdle yet again.

The 32-year-old spent three seasons at Boro and scored one of the most famous goals in the club's history to send Stoke City slithering out of FA Cup in a memorable replay. Just like almost a decade ago McGregor was in the right place at the perfect moment to rifle past Boro keeper Danny Alcock to seal City's success with the last decisive touch of the third qualifying round tie.

And while McGregor revealed he's lost none of his scoring skills, he also showed respect by refusing to celebrate the goal that denied Kevin Wilkin's men a replay at St George's Lane tonight while ensuring City a place into today's first round proper draw.

Earlier in the second period Danny Glover took advantage of indifferent home defending to give the visitors the lead before home substitute Danny Spencer came up trumps with a splendid equaliser which appeared to have secured a second bite of the cherry at the very least.

Neither side made much of an impression in the opening quarter with goalmouth action at a minimum, the closest either coming to break the boredom was when Boro's Stuart Pierpoint saw a downward header blocked on the line.

When City did raise a gallop, ex-Hinckley wing-back Neil Cartwright fired high and wide while McGregor headed off target following a corner.

A WELCOME distraction is how Nuneaton Town boss Kevin Wilkin describes tomorrow's home FA Trophy third qualifying round tie with old rivals Worcester City.

The competition, which the Boro boss would be delighted to savour an extended run in, may not be the best from the financial aspects but as regards prestige it's second only to the FA Cup and lesser clubs than Nuneaton have gone on to reach Wembley in the past.

And that's an ambition Wilkin would love to achieve although reflecting back on Boro's past record in the Trophy there's more likelihood England will win the World Cup as the best they have done in the past decade or so is the first round proper.

Since the move to the Triton Arena from Manor Park three years ago, Wilkin's men have lost out to Workington at this juncture in 2007 before a home preliminary round replay loss to Goole Town the following year was followed by last term's defeat to Workington again.

"It would be beneficial to have a decent run in the Trophy," said Wilkin.

"We go into every game wanting to win and this one against Worcester is no different.

"I know people say we are in the play-off positions at the moment and we don't want to lose sight of the league. But I regard this as a welcome distraction.

"It gives me the chance to give players, who have not been playing regular, some pitch time as we did at Stratford in midweek for the Birmingham Senior Cup tie.

"There's few opportunities to do that but changes doesn't mean we're not trying 100 per cent to win and progress."

When Boro last faced Worcester it was earlier this season at St George's Lane where the honours were even in a 2-2 draw and the prospects of an entertaining tie look on the cards with neither club wishing a replay on Tuesday night.

NUNEATON Town have continued their successful youth policy by elevating teenager Luke Taylor to senior team status.

The locally-born youngster is a product of the community club's development system and a member of Boro's under-18s squad managed by youth development boss Ben Pateman.

And Taylor has stamped his impression already when working with the Blue Square North squad as manager Kevin Wilkin explained: "Luke has trained with the first team several times and does not look out of place even for his young years. Bringing him in now shows how we want to progress players who are home grown into the Football Conference.

"He might have just sat on the bench at Stratford on Tuesday night but it's part of the experience. He certainly is one to watch."

Pateman added: "I'm really pleased Luke. He's worked hard to earn his chance and led from the front so to speak in the youth games. He's another local player making the step up, so obviously the system works."

Taylor follows in the footsteps of Gareth Dean, James Armson and Eddie Nisevic, all of whom have come e through the youth team in recent years and are now established first team regulars.

Ian Brown, senior club director and the chairman of the community club stressed: "Luke is a smashing lad and I'm pleased another one of our up and coming players is signing first team forms. The lad's from a good family, who are delighted he's turning out for his home town.

"We have several other players who are on the verge of signing and stepping up. The club has never had such quality at this age but it extends well past the youth teams, our under-16s and 15s have players who, if they progress, will be pushing themselves towards bigger and better things in a season or two."

KEVIN Wilkin awaits injury checks on the trio of Guy Hadland, James Armson and Justin Marsden before making team decisions on Saturday's home FA Trophy third qualifying round tie with Worcester City.

The Boro chief watched his young side beat Stratford 2-1 on Tuesday night at The DCS Stadium and move into the last eight of the Birmingham Senior Cup and stay on course for retaining the trophy - but at a price.

Hadland suffered a bruised foot while the two goal scorers - Armson and Marsden - limped off with thigh problems although Wilkin believes all three should be OK for the weekend.

"There were a few bumps and bruises that will need some attention but physio Paul Egan reckons there's nothing too much to worry about which is good news," said the Nuneaton boss.

"The Stratford success was pleasing as we fielded a very young side and they came through it well. It was important to give some of the boys pitch time as with league matches coming thick and fast there's not too many opportunities.

"But the Senior Cup give us a few options in terms of selection. It's welcome distraction as it's not quite as intense as league fixtures."

He continued: "I thought Stratford gave us a tough game. Like ourselves they have some good young players and after beating Leamington in the previous round were looking for another scalp from a higher level. Fortunately we came through and now we can look forward to a quarter final, hopefully at home if the draw goes our way."

BORO booked their passage into the quarter-finals of the Birmingham Senior Cup last night with a hard earned victory over a gritty Stratford, who can count themselves unfortunate not to have at least taken their higher league opponents to extra time.

It was Justin Marsden's fifth goal of the season that decided the issue after James Armson's well struck drive right on the break had been cancelled out by Tom James' equally fierce free-kick soon after the restart.

In a bitterly cold night at The DCW Stadium, it was the Midland Alliance side who created a couple of early half chances with ex-Leamington frontman Martin Thompson heading just wide while Nathan Edgington's lob lacked the power to trouble keeper Danny Alcock.

Marsden provided the best of Boro's first-half efforts but Richard Morris was more than a match as he fisted away his initial effort and then superbly turned over the striker's crisp volley at full stretch.

However, the hosts conjured up the best shot of the period when Thompson headed down for Sam Alsop to unleash a rising 20-yarder that clattered the underside of the bar, bounced down and was hack away by Gareth Dean.

In time added on, Morris again showed his agility by tipping over Guy Hadland's close-range header but with virtually the last kick of the half Armson's skidding edge of the box drive flew past the keeper and nestled in the far corner of the net.

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