Tigers pit their wits against Maltby Main and dig out a win


It was with a measure of relief that Worksop Town left Muglet Lane on Wednesday night, along with three points.

Their 2-1 victory was not a thriller, nor a classic, it was scrappy and difficult, played on a bobbly pitch in bitterly cold conditions.

Tigers had the width of the post to thank, as much as their own endeavours, because it was the woodwork that denied Maltby Main a late equaliser.

But credit must go to the young Tigers for refusing to give up a second 2-1 lead in just a few days.

It was a somewhat different looking Worksop side who strode onto the uneven surface.

In came Ben Townsend for the ill Jon Stewart, Jack Waddle replaced Connor Smythe at left-back, Jack Hawkins started in the middle and Conor Higginson returned to the attack.

Boss Mark Shaw insisted the changes were necessary, in view of the fixture list and Saturday’s big FA Vase tie.

“We needed to freshen things up, people needed to have a rest and a break.”

“Jack Hawkins had an alright game, Jack Waddle did well, he’s in contention to play. We’ve got a good squad and we need to utilise that.”

In possession Worksop appeared to struggle for periods of the game, poor decisions on the ball heaping pressure on the visitors.

Shaw said: “To be fair, the pitch is no where near good enough for us to play our football on.”

“Tadcaster will have to come here, Shaw Lane will have to come here, Heanor lost here, it’s a hard place to get a result.”

“For us it’s a very good three points, having had two points taken off us on Saturday.”

A mistake from Sam Liversidge handed Maltby the first shooting chance, albeit a speculative effort from a long way out, but Louis Penty failed to trouble Townsend.

Waddle had Tigers’ first shot, sending a half volley just over from an acute angle.

Some hestitant play in the Worksop defence almost cost Worksop in the fifth minute, Maltby’s Oliver Fearon charging down Townsend’s clearance after Jack Hawkins’ soft back pass.

Despite an unimpressive first 20 minutes, it was the men in white who took the lead.

Waddle won a corner on the left, Conor Sellars swung it to the back post and Tom Burgin rose to nod home.

Dean Smith should have levelled things on the half hour mark, but after doing the hard work his toe poked shot was easy for Townsend.

Worksop were living dangerously, trying to play under pressure and had it not been for some wasteful Maltby shooting, their lead would have disappeared.

At the other end a defender’s slip let Sellars ghost in at the back post and his shot was wide of the mark.

With seven minutes remaining in the first half, Sellars got on the end of a neat pass from Higginson and turned to finish nicely from 20 yards with his left foot.

A minute later the midfielder, known for his shoot on sight attitude, pinged a free-kick towards the corner of the net, keeper Neil Spruce doing enough to beat the ball out.

When Hawkins played Sellars in down the right, his pass put Higginson one-on-one and the striker’s goalbound shot was tipped around the post.

Maltby began the second half brightly, Penty firing a shot just wide.

Tigers went looking for a third to kill the game and when Matt Booth hooked the ball on for Higginson, it looked likely to arrive, but he was off target.

And they were made to rue the miss almost immediately, Penty stealing in at the far post to prod the ball past Townsend just shy of the hour.

A late challenge from Fearon left Waddle in a heap and brought the yellow card from the referee’s pocket, the Maltby bench unimpressed with the decision which was probably the correct one.

The hosts were celebrating on 75 minutes when Martin Jones’ shot beat Townsend, but it struck the inside of the post and came back out.

That was the closest the team in red came to an equaliser.

Referee Hristo Karaivanov had his card out again, cautioning Townsend for time wasting, and Worksop did what they failed to do on Saturday, ran the clock down to secure the win and third place in the NCEL Premier table.

Maltby Main: Spruce, Smith, Darker, Wesley, Coker, Cuckson (Lovell 65), Thornton (Jones 61), Penty, Fearon, Smith, Jordan. Not used: McDonald.

Worksop Town: Townsend 6, Wafula 5 (Smythe 87), WADDLE 6, Pursehouse 5, Liversidge 5, Burgin 5, Sellars 5, Scott 5, Booth 5 (Husbands 67) Higginson 5 (Elliott 90), Hawkins 6. Not used: Whincop, Jordan.

Referee: Hristo Karaivanov. Assistant: Scott Mason, Wayne Gray.

Goalscorers: Penty 59; Burgin 19, Sellars 38

Yellows: Penty 42, Fearon 71, Lovell 79; Townsend 84

Attendance: 174