Tigers top the table with fifth straight NCEL Premier victory

Worksop Town FC v Retford United. Pictured is Andre Johnson
Worksop Town FC v Retford United. Pictured is Andre Johnson
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A fifth straight win put Worksop Town top of the NCEL Premier on Wednesday night, as they outworked Cleethorpes at Sandy Lane.

The came wasn’t as comfortable as the 3-1 scoreline suggested, and it ended on a sour note, but Tigers will take it – and the momentum – into Saturday’s crunch clash with highly rated Heanor.

There were two more goals for Dre Johnson, his tally now 11, and Luke Shiels headed in his third in two games.

Johnson had a chance to put Tigers ahead inside four minutes, but when Jack Hawkins - in for the injured Tom Elliott - played it through, Johnson dragged his shot wide.

It was the visitors who hit the front early on, Jack Barlow sending an absolute screamer into the top left hand corner from 25 yards out - Ben Gathercole with no chance.

Cleethorpes were impressive in the first quarter of an hour, pressing Worksop and forcing errors.

One such mistake led to a free-kick just outside the hosts’ area, Louis Grant firing just over the top.

Worksop began to settle into the game and when the visitors failed to clear a Conor Sellars corner, the ball was worked back to Jonathan Wafula who curled a shot wide.

Wafula then turned provider, whipping the ball to the back post where Shiels arrived but couldn’t head on target.

Mark Shaw’s men were winning plenty of corners, and the pressure almost told when Brad Beattie dropped one, Tigers unable to hook the ball home.

Jake Scott showed a nice touch to put the ball into Johnson’s feet, he turned to leave his man for dead and then sent it over the bar from distance.

Cleethorpes were penned in for a good eight minute period, Sellars trying an audacious 40 yard blast that didn’t clear the bar by much.

The men in blue did break the spell, but it wasn’t long before Worksop attacked again, Scott freeing Connor Smythe who ran a good 20 yards and volleyed over.

The final stages of the first half were probably shaded by Cleethorpes, aided by some wayward Worksop passing, although Husbands did fashion a shooting chance to test Beattie who saved comfortably.

There was nothing the keeper could do in first half stoppage time though when Sellars whipped a corner to the near post and Shiels rose to glance the ball into the net.

Five minutes into the second half Tigers fans were on the edge of their seats as Sellars lined up another 30-yard free-kick, but there was no repeat of Saturday’s heroics, the ball going straight at Beattie.

The goalkeeper then kept the game level with a fantastic one handed save, low to his left, to beat out Johnson’s curling shot.

From the resulting corner Liversidge got in front of his marker but his body position meant the header went wide.

Gathercole was called into action to push another Barlow effort over the bar, Cleethorpes showing they were still in the game.

Worksop’s keeper then picked up another assist on a goal remarkably similar to one seen on Saturday, a quick ball out for Johnson chase, and when Beattie took out his own defender, the Tigers striker simply took the ball and rolled home his 10th of the season.

Marc Cooper, Cleethorpe’s best player for most of the game, eased Shiels out of an aerial challenge and took the ball on to shoot, his outside of the right boot effort sailing over.

With eight minutes left in the game some slack marking allowed substitute Lee McFarland to steal in for a free header 12 yards out and mercifully for Tigers he was woefully off target.

Worksop’s five game winning streak was confirmed on 84 minutes, Husbands flicking the ball on, Johnson outmuscling his man and putting the ball past the keeper.

The game threatened to boil over when Shiels was seemingly stamped on McFarland, the officials missing it.

When Shiels returned to the pitch he and the striker came together and the referee opted to book both players.

A nice ball from Husbands gave Chris Whincop a chance to put even more distance between the sides, but Beattie denied the replacement.

A second or two after the full-time whistle McFarland went straight through Scott and somehow escaped a red card – the injury to the Tigers skipper putting a dampner on the celebrations.

Worksop Town: Gathercole 7, Pursehouse 7, Smythe 7, SCOTT 7, Liversidge 7, Shiels 7, Sellars 7, Wafula 7, Husbands 7 (Weaver 90), Johnson 7 (Whincop 90), Hawkins 7 (Waddle 75). Not used: Dawson, Wedderburn.

Cleethorpes Town: Beattie, D. Grant, Heward, Peck (McFarland 80), Mascall, Hanslip, Robertson, Flett, Cooper, L. Grant (Richardson 46), Barlow (Oglesby 73). Not used: McKenzie.

Referee: Mr M. Hutchinson. Assistants: Mr S. Abbott, Mr M. Fryer.

Goalscorers: Shiels 45+1, Johnson 62, 84; Barlow 7

Yellows: Pursehouse 66, Shiels 88; Mascall 67, McFarland 88

Attendance: 420.

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