Nine out of 10 for entertainment
IF they’d charged £25 on the gate the supporters would still have got great value for money on Wednesday night.
Nine goals, some breathtaking attacking football and a 94th minute winner for the home side.
As it was, the 807 in attendance all got in for free – part of the club’s magnificent gesture that saw owner Jason Clark donate a pound per supporter to Macmillan Cancer Support.
If many of the new faces to Sandy Lane don’t reappear at future games there is something wrong.
Jamie Jackson’s performance alone was enough to justify an evening out in cold, blustery conditions.
He scored three excellent goals, including the winner, and walked off the pitch with the match ball and a smile as wide as the gulf in class between him and the Mickleover defenders.
The visitors were obviously aware of Jackson’s threat and Marc Strzyzewski took no time in clattering the forward, 55 seconds to be precise.
Referee Mr Lawrence flashed his yellow, and Jackson got revenge in the best way on nine minutes with the opening goal.
A fairly aimless long ball forward released him through the middle, he took a touch and slotted past Damon Clarke.
Just two minutes later Tigers were two to the good and cruising.
Gary King sent Massiah McDonald on a run down the left flank, he slid it back to Ash Burbeary and the winger curled the ball into the right hand corner.
Despite looking comfortable, Tigers conceded on 17 minutes with the first of four instances of poor defending.
Luke Shiels made two good challenges to keep the visitors out, but on the third occasion Kieran O’Connell got past the defender and crossed to a completely unmarked Alex Steadman who found the empty net.
Worksop came agonisingly close to restoring the cushion almost immediately, Shiels having a header cleared off the line and Matt Young’s follow up was blocked.
Just before the half hour the third goal arrived for Worksop.
A deep cross was kept in by Steve Gardner, Jackson turned on a sixpence to leave his marker for dead and he hammered a shot high into the net giving Clarke no chance.
Back came Mickleover however, a ball through the centre splitting the Tigers back four completely allowing Eric Graves to run in and nutmeg Worsnop for 3-2.
A lovely sequence of play from Tigers saw Burbeary and King play a one-two and the latter’s shot was held by Clarke.
Mickleover broke and Walsh had another chance to beat Worsnop but failed to lift the ball over him.
After a half-time team talk in the dark due to a power failure, Tigers came out aggressively for the second half, McDonald forcing a save from Clarke and winning a corner that caused problems for Mickleover.
But a free-kick conceded by James Cotterill, who saw yellow, was whipped into the danger area and Nick Wood slammed it under Worsnop first time for the equaliser.
Jackson’s trickery took him past two defenders and when he slid the ball cross the goal it should have been 4-3 but none of his team-mates were in position to score.
They were punished a minute later as a slick passing move tore the defence apart and a ball into the middle allowed O’Connell to stroke it past Worsnop to put his side ahead for the first time.
Warlow, who had struggled to contain the pacey attack, was replaced by Chris Wood - who’s first touch played in O’Connell and Shiels had to clear from his own goalmouth.
But the substitute delighted the crowd when the ball dropped to him just outside the area, he got his head over the ball and leathered it into the roof of the net to level.
The popular full-back may never score a better goal than that.
Tigers were in the ascendancy once more and forged a trio of chances in quick succession, the best of them a floated ball over the top for King but his glancing header was too close to Clarke.
The crowd should have been celebrating a winner with seven minutes remaining when McDonald, in sparkling form again on the wing, skinned the full-back, slid a perfect pass into the middle for subsitute Luke Sharry and he skied his effort from 16 yards.
And they came even closer to three points in the final minute of time added on. Burbeary curled a brilliant ball into the box and Jackson smashed it against the inside of the post.
But the tricky striker wasn’t to be denied and with virtually the last kick of the game he got the winner and the match ball.
McDonald got the ball on the right, slid it into Jackson and he took one touch before sending it low under Clarke for 5-4.
This kind of game may not be good for the nerves, but it makes for excellent entertainment and will hopefully have inspired a raft of brand new Tigers fans to make a regular visit to Sandy Lane.