Tigers dominate but can’t find a winner in rain soaked battle

Worksop Town v Athersley Rec at Sandy Lane. Tigers player Andre Johnson in action.
Worksop Town v Athersley Rec at Sandy Lane. Tigers player Andre Johnson in action.
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Worksop Town could count themselves unlucky not to return to winning ways after dominating Athersley at Sandy Lane.

Tigers had to settle for a 1-1 draw, as a goalkeeper in form and some wayward finishing allowed the Barnsley side to steal a point.

Worksop Town v Athersley Rec at Sandy Lane. Tigers player Jack Hawkins in action.

Worksop Town v Athersley Rec at Sandy Lane. Tigers player Jack Hawkins in action.

Although Tigers went behind in the game, and their visitors hit the post late on, almost all of the second half was played deep in Athersley territory

But for all their possession, Worksop were unable to create a winner.

Tigers began well, taking only three minutes to fashion a clear cut chance, a couple of quick passes and Mitch Husband’s ball into a good area giving Dre Johnson a shooting opportunity but keeper Neal May was out quickly to block.

In a bizarre passage of play, Kieran Scargill appeared to be caught with a high boot from Alex Pursehouse, although the officials saw nothing.

Once the bloodied Athersley player had been patched up he was so keen to rejoin play that he failed to wait for referee Timothy Walker’s signal, joined an attack and was promptly booked.

The visitors put together their own good passage of play, slicing Worksop wide open, and when Scargill looked set to score, Sam Liversidge made a fantastic last ditch block.

A comedy of errors from both sides in and around the visitors’ box afforded Connor Smythe a shot at goal from 18 yards, a deflection taking it over.

And the resulting corner was headed down and goalward by Luke Shiels necessitating a great save from May.

There were signs of Worksop getting back to the fluid attacking play that brought them such good form earlier in the season, and another good move ended in a Johnson shot being deflected off target.

Mitch Husbands’ speculative effort brought a sublime one handed save from the Athersley keeper, palming the half volley away from the top corner.

Despite getting on top, Worksop fell behind on 34 minutes.

A soft free-kick in a central position 22 yards out was struck low and hard, and neither the wall nor Ben Gathercole could stop it.

Tigers were lucky not to go a second goal down when Jack Briscoe fizzed a dangerous ball across the box and two visitors failed to connect.

There was just time for one more first half effort, Conor Sellars blasting a free-kick from 35 yards over the bar, but not by much.

Mercifully the rain stopped before the second half kicked off, and Worksop came out flying, Liversidge sliding a great ball through for Pursehouse, whose cross was almost knocked into his own goal by Ryan White.

At the other end, Daniel Joynes was put through and only a firm hand by Gathercole denied him.

Scargill was skating on thin ice when he needlessly barged Jono Wafula during a stoppage in play, throwing his arms around theatrically despite being on a booking .

Although Worksop had plenty of possession in good areas, a final product was lacking, Sellars shooting wide and Shiels heading over around the hour mark.

Pursehouse then cut in off his wing and drove at goal, May having to tip it round the post.

The right-back was seeing a lot of the ball and Athersley weren’t coping with his pace, another good run ending in a cross that someone should have knocked into the net.

Wafula had joy down the same flank, this time when the ball was delivered Connor Smythe skied from 12 yards.

But the goal did come on 72 minutes, Elliott slipping in the box but doing enough to tee up Johnson who simply passed it into the corner of the net.

As Athersley fell further and further back into a defensive shell, Tigers looked for a winner, Smythe digging out a cross that Wafula couldn’t get enough on.

Josh Moore could have put the Rec back in front against the run of play, smashing a header just past the post.

There was a late scare for the hosts, Briscoe sending a searing shot off the inside of the far post, Gathercole well beaten.

Some patient build up in time added on saw Tigers switch play to the right, Liversidge striding forward, exchanging passes with Wafula and then shooting straight at May in the game’s final action.

Worksop: Gathercole 7, PURSEHOUSE 8, Smythe 6, Hawkins 7, Liversidge 7, Shiels 7, Sellars 6, Wafula 6, Husbands 6 (Booth 87), Johnson 6, Elliott 7. Not used: Dawson, Whincop, Waddle, Jordan.

Athersley Rec: May, Hodgson, Cook, Monfredi, Blackburn (Penn 78), White, Scargill (Hydes 68), Briscoe, Joynes (Hancock 85), Moore, Bennett. Not used: Bentley, Ripley.

Goalcorers: Johnson 72; Scargill 34

Yellows: Scargill 13, Briscoe 49

Referee: Mr. Timothy Walker

Assistants: Mr Gareth Davis, Mr Daniel Webb.

Attendance: 378.