Blog: NCEL Premier season finale is a Tad concerning after FA Vase video nasty

Worksop Town FC v Tadcaster Albion, pictured is Jake Scott
Worksop Town FC v Tadcaster Albion, pictured is Jake Scott

Controversy seems to follow one of Worksop Town’s title rivals at the minute.

Tadcaster Albion, who sit second to Tigers in the NCEL Premier, are under the microscope after an unsavoury brawl at the end of their FA Vase defeat by Highworth on Saturday.

The fracas left a Highworth player and the club chairman bloodied, and videos have emerged that show players from both sides involved with fans.

Whilst the Highworth chairman has remained tight lipped on how he came to be injured, the Tadcaster chairman has cited a young Highworth fan as having thrown coins and been involved in incidents at half-time and full-time, when it all kicked off.

The question has to be asked, why was the youngster not identified and dealt with if he’d been the cause of trouble twice earlier in the day?

Regardless, with such a high profile incident the footballing authorities will have to act and both clubs have promised to co-operate.

It comes just a few days after Tadcaster were, quite unbelievably, asked to replay a cup game against Bradford Park Avenue.

Avenue fielded ex-Tiger Alex Pursehouse mistakenly believing him to be eligble, and in a strange turn of events, are being allowed to take on Tadcaster again instead of being thrown out of the competition.

This serves as another distraction for Albion, which will be welcomed by the other sides eyeing promotion.

Worksop Town fans have been keeping a close eye on the situation, and not just because they travel to Tadcaster for a potential title decider on the final day of the season.

When Albion visited Sandy Lane, there were also unsavoury scenes.

On that occasion there were no fans invading the playing surface, but players invading the stands, as Tadcaster players – in their words – went to the aid of one of their supporters.

The truth of how the match came to be delayed for several minutes was probably lost somewhere in the middle of two opposing views.

The post match social media analysis was dominated by Tadcaster claims of missile throwing and taunting by home supporters.

It’s my understanding that Tadcaster’s goalkeeper Peter Lawrie was able to present the referee with two boiled sweets as the evidence of missiles, and not the coins and lighters he tweeted about after the match.

Nothing should ever be thrown at players, whether Werther’s Originals or weightier objects, but nor should events be exaggerated.

Both sides let themselves down a little, as tension boiled over on a number of occasions both on and off the pitch.

It was tit for tat.

Jonathan Greening was sent off for elbowing Jake Scott. ‘Tad’ cast doubt on the incident, and Scott’s reaction. Worksop called it a cynical and unacceptable action from the former Manchester United man.

Admirably Tadcaster grabbed a late, late equaliser to snatch a point on the day, and many left the ground with a bad taste in their mouths.

In a way, it created a rivalry that will make the encounter on 2nd May all the more interesting and exciting.

But there are justifiable concerns that it could all kick off again, and both sides have to be prepared to take steps to prevent that.

Of course all this conjecture will be a waste of time should Shaw Lane storm through their games in hand to win the NCEL Premier title, leaving Worksop and Tadcaster playing for pride on the last day.

There is no reason, however, that Tadcaster and Worksop cannot get their heads together and appeal for calm if the stakes are going to be a high, and the players and benches will have a duty to ensure they stay within the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

The stewarding must be more than adequate.

Non League football evokes just as much passion and ferver as that expensive, some might say plastic, version of the game played by wealthy professionals.

That passion has to be directed, and channeled into support and not confrontation, however.

The standard might be semi-professional, but the conduct has to be professional or the headlines on 2nd May will not be about the main thing – football.

Both Worksop and Tadcaster have done themselves proud with performances and playing records thus far this season. It would be a shame to ruin it.