BLOG: Shaw now has options but Worksop Town are still underdogs ahead of Tadcaster Albion clash

Action from Worksop Town v Tadcaster Albion at Sandy Lane on Wednesday October 21st 2015. Tom Elliot in action for Worksop.
Action from Worksop Town v Tadcaster Albion at Sandy Lane on Wednesday October 21st 2015. Tom Elliot in action for Worksop.

In the space of 90 minutes Worksop Town boss Mark Shaw has gone from having a starting XI that picked itself, to a genuine selection headache.

Although his Tigers are unbeaten in six, it wasn’t until Wednesday night that they finally performed to the best of their ability.

And it took a bit of a selection gamble to set in motion the finest performance of the season.

Out went the league’s leading goalscorer, the club’s second top scorer and club captain.

And yet with their three most prolific players on the bench, Worksop still looked a potent attacking threat.

Matt Booth made it six goals in two games, scoring a simply sensational opener.

He played the targetman role well, holding the ball up and laying it off to the smaller, more mobile players who swarmed around him.

Although Tigers had height through the spine of the team, take out the centre-halves, Callum Harrison and Booth and you were left with a very small, quick, nippy side.

Adam Ward played the best game of his Tigers career, Steve Woolley was a menace, Alex Nightingale slotted in perfectly and Tom Elliott was unplayable.

Harrison, to his credit, has dropped weight and grown in confidence, taking care of the ball in possession and winning headers.

It was the fluidity and the tempo of Worksop’s play that left Garforth chasing shadows and opened up gaps for attackers to run into.

The two full-backs provided pace and width, and the centre-halves were calm and composed all evening.

Ross Henshaw gave two decent Garforth forwards no change all evening.

For once, Julian Lawrence didn’t leave the field at 90 minutes like a soldier limping from the battle field, and alongside Henshaw was a combatative force.

It all added up to a fantastic night of entertainment at Sandy Lane, and the perfect precursor to Saturday’s visit to Tadcaster Albion.

Shaw now has options, and questions.

Can you drop a striker who has two hat-tricks in two games? Who sits out after a performance like that?

When Jordan Hodder and Jamie Hadfield are ready to come back into the line-up, do you stick them straight back in?

And is it a risk to leave the league’s top marksman on the bench against arguably the best side in the division this weekend?

I don’t think anyone would suggest that Tadcaster will provide the same kind of opposition as Garforth.

Saturday will be a different level altogether.

Tadcaster are strong all over the pitch, and with two wins over Worksop this season will argue that they have the mental edge.

But it’s not unreasonable to suggest that if Tigers move the ball as quickly and slickly as they did in midweek, they will cause issues for any team, including the Brewers.

There’s a buzz that accompanies such a good performance, and confidence can do great things for a team.

The fans are in full feel-good factor flow, with ‘one of their own’ firing in back-to-back hat-tricks.

Despite the suggestion from Tadcaster boss Billy Miller that the pressure is on Worksop, I would respectfully disagree.

Why would there be any pressure on fan funded Worksop Town, to go and win away against a team boasting the likes of the Greening brothers?

Gregg Anderson and Matt Heath probably have more experience between them than Worksop’s midweek outfield players combined.

Albion also boast an X Factor in the form of Conor Sellars – how motivated will he be to go out and teach Tigers a lesson for letting him go?]

To me, Worksop are the underdogs.

They haven’t yet put in a great performance in a big game this season.

What better time to start?

It will be a fascinating encounter, played out in a neutral venue, although that’s unlikely to have any real bearing on the result.

Both sets of fans having to travel to the fixture will more than likely discourage any troublemakers, and the atmosphere should be enjoyable, if tense.

Make no mistake, these two clubs will exchange pleasantries through twitter, and the respective officials will be respectful and courteous, but there’s nothing either side would like more than to deal the other a bitter blow in the title race.

A win for Tadcaster will put them five points behind with four games in hand – and you wouldn’t bet against them winning those games to take control of the table.

Worksop getting three points would leave Tadcaster 11 points in their wake, and needing to take maximum points from their four outstanding fixtures.

A draw wouldn’t be a disaster for either side, not with so many games to go, and it would keep their unbeaten streaks going.

What would be disastrous would be a postponement.

The weather has played merry hell with a fixture between these clubs already this season, and a game this big deserves to be held on a Saturday afternoon.

Forecasts suggest plenty of wind and some rain, but hopefully the Selby pitch will hold up and conditions will be conducive to attractive football.

Worksop owe their ‘hosts’ one, and victory would make them serious promotion material.