Worksop Town hold on for narrow win over struggling visitors Armthorpe

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Worksop Town withstood second half pressure from struggling visitors Armthorpe Welfare to clinch a 1-0 win at Sandy Lane.

The clean sheet was the most pleasing aspect for Tigers, whose defence put in an impressive display.

Another positive was the introduction to first team action of Under 17 academy player Mason Gee, who ran himself into the ground for an hour.

The big story when the line-ups were announced was the first name on the Worksop team sheet - goalkeeping coach Rich Lawrence making his Tigers debut on the eve of his 39th birthday.

Lawrence’s first act was to gather a Daniel Taylor shot from outside the box and a comfortable save probably settled any nerves.

With six minutes on the clock Tigers went ahead, through their first attack. A James Cottingham free-kick from the left was half cleared and Conor Higginson shot home, via a deflection, from 22 yards.

Mitch Husbands looked to make it 2-0 from a similar distance and stung the hands of Leigh Overton with a fierce half volley.

The home side had all the early pressure and most of the possession, but did look threatened when Armthorpe put an awkward ball into the area and Lawrence couldn’t punch clear, Kieran Fenton making a vital block and well timed tackle to clear the danger.

Andy Ofosu’s evening lasted just 33 minutes before he limped off injured, Tigers handing a debut to striker Gee.

The youngster was straight into the action, starting a move on half way that eventually saw Higginson sweep a cross into Dre Johnson, his volley blocked.

As the half entered its final stages Worksop ramped up the pressure, Adam Ward shifting the ball out of his feet and hammering a shot goalwards, Overton palming it away well at full stretch.

The keeper was involved again before the break, stopping Husbands’ header from a deep corner to the back post.

Mark Shaw’s men tried to start the second half in a similarly dominant mood, but when James Cottingham’s pass to Ward fell short, Armthorpe broke and Craig Aspinall ran almost the length of the field before firing over the top.

When another Worksop attack broke down Welfare broke once more with Daniel Taylor beating Higginson for speed on the right and then cutting the ball across the box dangerously.

Armthorpe made much more of a game of it in the second half, Worksop falling off the pace they set before the break and finding themselves under pressure at times, although Lawrence had little to do in goal.

There was a fiestier edge to proceedings as well, Gee, Ward and Julian Lawrence all left on the deck after firm challenges, the last one somehow not resulting in a yellow.

Tigers found it hard to create when they did keep the ball, Welfare rarely threatened until a smart touch by Gee gave Johnson a run at his marker before he shot wide.

One of Worksop’s failings in the game was lingering on the ball in attack when a shot looked on, but Ward’s quick half volley almost brought late joy, Overton getting down to stop it, Dorgan clearing the rebound.

Worksop: Lawrence 7, Gorman 7, Waddle 7, Cottingham 7, FENTON 8, Lawrence 8, Husbands 6, Higginson 6 (Woolley 83), Johnson 6 (Nightingale 90), Ofosu 6 (Gee 33), Ward 6. Not used: Hodder, Sykes.

Armthorpe: Overton, Garner, Walkden, Dorgan, Gibbons, Walker (Mirfin 75), Taylor, Aspinall, McLaughlin, Braithwaite (Mansaram 57), Semley (Preston 68). Not used: Muirhead, Biggs.

Goalscorers: Higginson 6

Referee: Mr A. Smith. Assistants: Mr N. Munday, Mr M. Connell.

Attendancec: 258.