Pickering Town will be glad to see the back of Worksop Town this season, after conceding nine goals in two heavy defeats.
Tigers may have deserved a win at the Recreation Club on Tuesday, but the 4-1 scoreline was more than a little harsh on the hosts.
A great first half performance from Mark Shaw’s men gave way to a stuttering display after the break, but the Pikes failed to capitalise and defensive errors were pounced upon by Worksop’s hungry and clinical attackers.
Tigers began well, forging an early chance for Jonathan Wafula who shot over after Connor Sellars dummied Mitch Husbands’ pass.
Tom Elliott also had an opportunity to test keeper Dave Bramley from the edge of the box but sliced his effort wide.
A lightning quick passing move unlocked the Pikes defence, Elliott putting Dre Johnson in on goal only to see the offside flag go up.
Sellars did brilliantly to dig out a fantastic cross from the right and Husbands header was firm but well saved by Bramley,who also saved Johnson’s follow up effort from the rebound.
For Pickering, Nathan Cook came close 20 minutes in, rising to head just past the post from a dangerous corner.
The opening goal didn’t arrive until the 33rd minute, and it came from good work down the left as Connor Smythe released Husbands, he slid the ball into the middle and when it broke to Wafula the midfielder slammed it home.
Pickering caused problems from another good corner and Ryan Cooper should have done better when the ball found him at the back post, the man in blue blasting well over.
Tigers deserved a second when they put together a beautiful one-touch passing move, Husbands giving his strike partner a clear run on goal and Johnson put it just the wrong side of the post.
Ben Gathercole was called into action at his near post as Lewis Taylor fired in a cross-cum-shot that looked to be creeping in, and yet another corner brought a headed chance for Wayne Aziz, Pickering’s captain heading over.
A minute before the break Aziz had his head in his hands when he put a free header wide.
The second half was only three minutes old when Tigers were handed a golden chance to go further ahead, referee Simon Porter spotting a handball in the box.
Jake Scott stepped up to the spot and put it to Bramley’s right, and the keeper got down well to gather.
Alex Pursehouse played a lovely through ball for Husbands to chase, his first touch was heavy and Pickering got players back to clear.
Worksop were made to rue the misses on 58 minutes when Luke Shiels’ poor header was latched onto by Cooper and he smashed it past Gathercole for the leveller.
Shiels picked up a booking two minutes later for a rash tackle outside the area and luckily for the defender Cook wasted the free-kick.
Tigers were having a poor spell and Mark Shaw reacted by pulling Elliott, sending on Chris Whincop and moving to 3-4-3.
Ten minutes later Worksop were in front, as undeserved as it might have been, Wafula breaking forward after a strong but fair tackle left his man down, and his ball into the box was knocked past the keeper by unfortunate defender Niall Gibb.
Robbie Hawkes came between his side and a 3-1 defecit when he headed Wafula’s goalbound effort off the line from a Worksop corner.
But a minute later a defensive error allowed three Worksop players to break on goal with just Bramley to stop them and Whincop unselfishly squared for Husbands to net the third.
Whincop almost turned goalscorer with a speculative effort from wide on the right, Bramley beaten but the post coming to his rescue.
The replacement was bright and lively and deserved a goal, and in injury time it arrived.
Bramley was unable to hold Husbands’ cross and Whincop was in the right place to sidefoot into the net for a 4-1 lead and his first goal as a Tiger.
The result leaves Worksop Town fourth in the table, four points behind leaders and landlords Handsworth Parramore, albeit with two games in hand.
On Saturday Tigers will face a Retford United side who lost 5-1 on Tuesday night away at Tadcaster Albion and will want to bounce back.
Pickering: Bramley, Gibb, Belt (Hawkes 19), Ramm (Danby 79), Aziz, Cook (Patterson 71), Cooper, Taylor, Logan, Calvert, Tilsley. Not used: Hackworth, Dalton.
Worksop: Gathercole 7, PURSEHOUSE 7, Smythe 6, Scott 6, Liversidge 7, Shiels 5, Sellars 6, Wafula 7 (Waddle 90), Husbands 7, Johnson 6 (Hawkins 86), Elliott 6 (Whincop 66). Not used: Dawson, Jordan.
Referee: Simon Porter. Assistants: Les Towse, Gary Fletcher-Tindall.
Goalscorers: Cooper 58; Wafula 33, own goal 76, Husbands 85, Whincop 90
Yelllows: Ramm 23, Cook 52, Taylor 78, Bramley 83; Shiels 60, Johnson 83
Where do you think Tigers will finish the NCEL Premier season? Email your views to Graham Smyth