Plenty of wins, a ridiculous number of goals, drama and player departures – Worksop Town’s 2015 in review

Worksop Town finished as runners-up in the NCEL Premier Division after a 2-1 win at Tadcaster Albion, and were awarded with a trophy by league officials
Worksop Town finished as runners-up in the NCEL Premier Division after a 2-1 win at Tadcaster Albion, and were awarded with a trophy by league officials
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For Worksop Town Football Club, 2015 was their first calendar year as a fan funded operation.

It didn’t bring the silverware they craved, unless you count the trophy for finishing second in the NCEL Premier or a fair play award, but it was a year that saw them win just undet two thirds of their matches.

Home team Worksop  in Orange & Black kit,  Maltby in all blue strip,  for their Match at Sandy Lane, Worksop.'NWGU 19-9-15 Worksop, Jake Scott (Worksop)  (3)

Home team Worksop in Orange & Black kit, Maltby in all blue strip, for their Match at Sandy Lane, Worksop.'NWGU 19-9-15 Worksop, Jake Scott (Worksop) (3)

Mark Shaw led Tigers into 49 games, and masterminded 31 victories.

Worksop drew five times and lost 13 games.

A whopping 135 goals were scored by the men in orange, and they conceded 55 times.

As ever, when Worksop Town are concerned, there was no lack of drama with high profile player departures taking centre stage in the second half of last season and the first half of the current campaign.

Here is our review of 2015.

January

Jon Stewart told the Guardian that Mark Shaw was the best manager he had worked with, and expressed how much fun it was to play in Worksop’s expressive style.

There wasn’t much fun to be had at Garforth Town however, where Worksop dominated possession in a 1-0 defeat as the hosts parked the bus.

Tigers hit Armthorpe for eight, pipped Staveley and exited the FA Vase in extra-time in round four at home to Glossop North End.

Their League Cup campaign also ended, at Lincoln Moorlands Railway, and Chris Adam returned to the club as assistant manager.

Tigers announced they would open an academy later in the year.

February

February began with turbulence, as a player was unsettled by ‘outside influences’ according to Mark Shaw.

A week later, Alex Pursehouse left Worksop for Bradford Park Avenue, a move that would pave the way for somewhat of an exodus to West Yorkshire.

Parkgate and Athersley fell victim to Tigers, before they hammered Bassetlaw rivals Retford 6-0 away from home.

Garforth provided frustration again with their defensive tactics in a 1-1 draw, and Heanor held out for a 0-0 draw at Sandy Lane as tough tackles left Mitch Husbands and Jono Wafula injured.

March

This was almost the perfect month for Tigers, as they won five of their six outings.

The highlight was undoubtedly a 3-0 humiliation of title favourites Shaw Lane Aquaforce, who lost their cool and had two players sent off.

Worksop found themselves 12 games unbeaten and seven points clear in the league.

It could have been even better, had they not conceded a last gasp equaliser at Cleethorpes – a goal that would haunt Worksop at the end of the season.

There were some worrying scenes to end the month, skipper Jake Scott being stretchered off and hospitalised after a brutal mid-air challenge from a Nostell Miners Welfare player.

Nostell had three men red carded as they lost 4-2 to Tigers.

April

Worksop Town’s title challenge faltered in April, with two big setbacks.

A 2-0 defeat by Barton Town Old Boys at Sandy Lane, and a loss to landlords Handsworth Parramore cost them dearly – Shaw Lane returning to the top of the table.

Popular pint-sized midfielder Jack Hawkins left the club, apparently losing patience with his bit-part role in proceedings.

Tigers stayed in the hunt for promotion by blasting Barton 5-1 away from home, Sam Liversidge scoring goal of the season, and mauling Maltby 8-0 at Sandy Lane.

But Shaw Lane’s win over Cleethorpes clinched the title, and left Worksop fighting for second place with Tadcaster Albion.

Off the field there was a vote of no confidence for club chairman Ian Smith.

May

The season ended with a flourish, Worksop beating Tadcaster 2-1 away from home to lift the trophy for finishing second in the league, just four points behind the winners.

Mark Shaw then signed a three-year contract to remain in his post, and talked of wanting to take Tigers back to the Conference North.

Tom Elliott picked up the vast majority of the end of season awards, with Tom Burgin pipping him to the Worksop Guardian prize.

Kev Keep moved from head of the Supporters Society to the top job at the club, taking over from Ian Smith as chairman.

Worksop announced plans to launch a women’s football team.

Jon Stewart left the club to join Alex Pursehouse at Bradford Park Avenue.

June

Tigers lined up pre-season fixtures against Mansfield Town and Boston United, and pulled off a major signing coup in the form of Jon Kennedy.

The goalkeeper returned for his third stint with Worksop Town, turning down the chance to stay at Matlock Town.

Another returnee was Steve Woolley, who left Handsworth Parramore to rejoin Tigers after a seven-year absence.

The Team500 club hit the 100 members landmark for the new season, and Shaw scaled Three Peaks to raise cash to further the cause.

July

Conor Higginson rejected a chance to move back to the Evo-Stik Premier Division and signalled his intention to stay at Sandy Lane.

He was joined in the squad by most of the players who featured in the previous campaign, with the likes of ex Doncaster Rovers man Jordan Ball trying to win a place in Shaw’s plans.

Mark Shaw recruited coach Craig Denton from Sheffield Wednesday’s academy system.

Tigers drew with Handsworth, beat a Sheffield United XI behind closed doors and lost 4-1 to Mansfield Town despite an impressive performance.

The NCEL Premier fixture list was published and was met with anger by Worksop Town, who were away from home on the opening day, festive dates and final game of the season, for the second year running.

Shaq McKenzie came back to the club, and Tigers thumped a young Lincoln City team 7-2, but Tom Burgin departed to join, who else, Bradford Park Avenue.

August

Pre-season concluded with a satisfactory 2-2 draw with National League North Boston United.

The season proper began well, Worksop 6-0 winners at Athersley with McKenzie impressive in particular.

But trouble lay ahead, Jono Wafula refusing to sit on the bench against Clipstone and departing the club in the wake of his actions.

Worksop lost to Clipstone, exited the FA Cup at the first hurdle against Abbey Hey and went down 4-3 to Staveley Miners Welfare.

McKenzie left for Sheffield FC after becoming unsettled at what Shaw called ‘untrue rumours.’

The Garforth hoodoo was laid to rest however, with a 1-0 win, and Pontefract were battered 7-1.

September

The perfect month with six wins from six games.

Worksop won 4-0 four times in a row to go top, Kyle Jordan on target in each of those games as he announced his new status as a starting XI player.

Staveley were beaten in the Sheffield Senior Cup and a tricky trip to Bridlington ended in a 3-1 victory.

Julian Lawrence arrived to bolster the defence, and Lee Westwood renewed his shirt sponsorship deal with the club.

Sheffield Wednesday and other Football League clubs were said to be interested in Tigers midfielder Tom Elliott, and Jake Scott was attracting attention from higher up the pyramid.

October

Tigers suffered a huge blow, with the departure of skipper Jake Scott.

Scott became the fourth Worksop player to move to Bradford Park Avenue in 2015 and left a gaping hole in the Worksop midfield.

The month started and ended well on the pitch, with a disappointing blip in the middle.

Sheffield FC were beaten in the Senior Cup, Rainworth, Barton, Pickering and Liversedge all fell to Tigers.

But Tadcaster won 2-1 at Sandy Lane, as Lawrence was red carded in a match marred by crowd trouble after the final whistle.

November

Worksop won their first two games of the month 4-1, beating Nostell and progressing in the Sheffield Senior Cup against Frecheville.

But they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Cleethorpes, and then lost 3-2 in the first Sandy Lane derby of the season against Handsworth Parramore.

Tigers were drawn to face Tadcaster in the FA Vase, but the game wouldn’t take place until December with the Brewers’ pitch under water and the FA apparently insistent that it must take place at the i2i Stadium.

December

If November was mixed, December was miserable.

In the wake of the Handsworth loss, Mark Shaw’s comments about Conor Sellars led to the player leaving the club by mutual consent.

And to make matters worse, Tom Elliott put in a transfer request, with at least one club putting an offer on the table.

Sellars ended up at Tadcaster, shortly after Tigers had lost 4-1 there in the FA Vase without him.

Tigers went out of the League Cup at the hands of Barton, and then went down 3-1 against Clipstone.

Boxing Day brought little in the way of Christmas cheer, Worksop being held 2-2 at Bassetlaw rivals Retford United to go winless in six games.

But with 2016 approaching, Worksop are attemtping to bring in new players and find themselves just two points behind leaders Tadcaster.