Another big game slips away from Worksop as title rivals Handsworth win Sandy Lane derby

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Worksop Town let another big game slip away from them, going down 3-2 to Handsworth Parramore at Sandy Lane.

As in previous crucial matches against Clipstone, Tadcaster and Staveley Tigers game themselves a mountain to climb, going behind early on.

And the result allowed Parramore to close the gap on their second-placed tenants, moving to within four points with two games in hand.

The clock hadn’t yet reached 60 seconds and the yellow card was out, Sam Denton going in very late on Andy Ofosu and drawing the ire of the referee.

And a minute later, Mitch Husbands was down after being caught by Denton in the air, the referee seeing nothing illegal in the challenge.

Handsworth hit the front early, but the architects of the goal were Worksop Town, with Jon Kennedy sold short yet again by a back pass, Jordan Cooke the culprit this time, Kieran Wells nipping in to roll the ball home.

Worksop had a mountain to climb after just 13 minutes, nice passing football from the visitors unlocking Tigers all too easily, Simon Harrison stroking the ball into the corner of the net after a nice move.

It could have been 3-0 before the 17th minute, Tigers making a complete shambles of defending a corner and seeing two shots deflected off target.

The visitors defended in a solid red block, and Worksop had no answers, making mistakes all over the pitch.

Had it not been for a poor finish from Colin Marrison and the woodwork, the game could well have been dead and buried with less than 30 minutes played, Marrison blasting over from 15 yards and Simon Harrison’s header crashing off the bar a minute later.

Worksop briefly threatened as Jamie Hadfield strode out of defence and forced the issue, but when James Cottingham crossed into the box it was easily cleared.

Ofosu finally had the hosts’ first shot on goal in the 40th minute, getting in behind on the left and drilling the ball low to the near post, Andrew Sneath making a comfortable save.

In their best spell of the game, Tigers attacked again, Steve Woolley bringing a smart stop from Sneath down low.

But there was nothing the goalkeeper could do when Ofosu’s 20-yard effort took a defelction and looped over him into the back of the net.

All of a sudden Tigers had their tails up, and looked far more dangerous and confident, Husbands’ ball through for Ofosu just getting cut out, then Woolley shot wide.

The second half saw both sides start full of intent, Tom Elliott foiled on the edge of the box with a great sliding tackle, and two Worksop defenders flying in to block Luke Fletcher’s shot at the back post.

Uncharacteristically, Worksop went direct and found the equaliser. Cottingham sent a free-kick forward from half-way, Julian Lawrence nodded it on and Husbands was there to sidefoot the ball past Sneath.

A blatant handball from Phil Roe on the very edge of the box gave Handsworth a great set-piece opportunity, Denton lining up the free-kick and blasting it off Cooke and out for a corner.

The resulting ball in saw the ball come off the Worksop bar for a second time, and when Handsworth recycled possession and got it into the middle, Simon Harrison showed some lovely skill to turn into space and drill the ball past Kennedy for 3-2.

Worksop reacted to the goal by changing formation and replacing Cooke with Conor Higginson.

Another dangerous free-kick had Tigers in all kinds of trouble, the ball hitting Kennedy in the chest and rebounding into the penalty area, Elliott eventually clearing.

Tigers made another change, Husbands - who sported a huge welt around his eye from the first half clash - making way for Conor Sellars.

The post came between the home side and another equaliser, Elliott slipping a great ball through for Ofosu who beat Sneath but not the woodwork.

That was the striker’s last contribution, as he limped off and was replaced up front by centre-half Ross Henshaw.

A leveller looked less and less likely as time ticked away, only a Woolley shot giving rise to optimism, but it was easy for Sneath.

The final whistle sparked celebrations from the visitors, who were worth their victory on the balance of play and chances created.

Worksop Town: Kennedy 6, Woolley 6, Roe 6, LAWRENCE 6, Hadfield 6, Cooke 5 (Higginson 67), Cottingham 5, Harrison 5, Husbands 6 (Sellars 73), Ofosu 6 (Henshaw 81), Elliott 5. Not used: Waddle, Ward.

Handsworth: Sneath, Starosta, Cullingworth, Fletcher, Denton, Adams, S. Harrison (Griffiths 90), Warne, Marrison, Wells (Froggatt 86), Buttle. Not used: Wright, Tootle, Ratcliffe.

Referee: Mr M. Powell. Assistants: Mr H. Naylor, Mr R. Varley.

Goalscorers: Ofosu 44, Husbands 53; Wells 8, S. Harrison 13, 64

Yellows: Denton 1

Attendance: 490.