Tigers Boxing clever as they hit five festive goals

Worksop Town v Ilkeston. Leon Mettam scores tigers first goal
Worksop Town v Ilkeston. Leon Mettam scores tigers first goal

Worksop Town feasted on the generosity of their Boxing Day visitors Ilkeston to gift a bumper crowd with three points.

Leon Mettam’s fourth hat-trick of the season and goals from Conor Higginson and Tom Denton brought a 5-2 win over a side that finished the game with nine men.

There was a surprise in the starting line-up for Worksop, as goalkeeper Jon Stewart returned from injury.

But he, and his defence, were caught cold on six minutes as a nice dummy by Gary Ricketts allowed Tyrrell Waite to knock a lovely ball into the box, and Ricketts was there to score the opener.

The game’s first yellow went to Conor Higginson for baring into Matt Baker after the ball had gone.

Matt Richards stormed into the area and brought a good save from Stewart, and the stopper then set up the equalier.

Stewart’s quick clearance released Leon Mettam who got free to lob Ross Etheridge with a deft first touch.

Four minutes later the hosts led, thanks to a picture perfect counter attack.

Alex Pursehouse sent Jack Muldoon down the right and his excellent cross was steered home by Mettam.

Kane Richards had a golden chance to make it 2-2 when he received a free-kick to the near post, spun his man and fired just over.

Ricketts came close to his second with a powerful header, and a dangerous delivery from a free-kick reached Ricketts at the back post, Stewart making a fine save.

Three minutes before the break a tussle in the middle of the park resulted in a red card for Ilkeston’s Che Adams, who swung an elbow at Jake Scott.

This swung the game in Worksop’s favour, and they smelled blood.

Mettam dug out an inviting cross to the back post for strike partner Tom Denton, but the ball just eluded him and Ilkeston survived.

The 10 men came flying out of the blocks after the break, Tyrell Waite denied by Stewart and Chris Salt clearing off the line.

Seconds later Ryan Wilson’s dinked cross was met by the head of Ricketts and the ball came back off the bar.

Any nerves the home side felt were calmed before the hour mark, as a mistake allowed Higginson to scamper clear and finish brilliantly.

A moment of pure brilliance brought further breathing space, and a hat-trick for Mettam, as he controlled Scott’s pass on his chest, turned and volleyed home over Etheridge from 25 yards.

The goalscorer departed to a deserved ovation, Jack Adams taking his place.

The replacement almost created a goal with a clever chipped ball for Muldoon, who forced a mistake in the Ilkeston box but was whistled for a foul as he went round the grounded Etheridge.

Ilkeston pulled a goal back five minutes from time as Matt Richards drove a shot into the box and Salt deflected it into his own net.

But the three goal cushion was restored when Scott took a quick free-kick, Pursehouse ran into acres of space and his fierce cross was headed into the net with aplomb by Tom Denton.

There was still time for a second red card for Ilkeston, Joe Maguire taking an early bath for dissent, before the final whistle stretched Worksop Town’s unbeaten league run to 11 games.