TIGERS RETRO - The day Bournemouth halted Worksop Town’s FA Cup run

editorial image

Over the 123 years that Worksop Town have been entering the FA Cup they have played a large number of higher grade Football League clubs.

On some occasions they have had to play right through from the Extra Preliminary Round.

Back in 1920-21 by the time they travelled to Bristol Rovers, they had already played 10 F A Cup ties.

In the most recent season in which Worksop met a League club this was certainly not the case.

This was in season 2001/02 when the team, managed by Paul Mitchell, assisted by Danny Hague and Peter Rinkcavage, was given exemption to the Second Qualifying Round, by virtue of their Step 2 Northern Premier League Premier Division status.

This round saw them drawn at home to NPL colleagues, Bishop Auckland - disappointing for those wishing to see ‘new’ opposition.

But Saturday, 13th October turned out to be a lucky one as the Tigers marched on, winning 3-1.

Skipper Linden Whitehead scored two and Paul Eshelby got the third watched by a Sandy Lane crowd of 441 fans.

The draw for the Third Qualifying Round produced another home tie, this time against local rivals Gainsborough Trinity.

With anticipation high round the town the crowd was up to 756 for this one and the home fans were well entertained with a splendid 4-0 victory. The goals were shared out between Whitehead, Dene Cropper, Gary Townsend, and Mick Goddard.

There was some disappointment when the Fourth Qualifying Round draw gave Worksop a trip to Conference Club Leigh RMI, and most thought that the cup run would be over.

Leigh played at the Hilton Park home of the local Rugby League club, and the 674 fans present on 27th October were spread around the concrete terracing.

Not put off by their opponents’ higher status, Worksop showed they meant business, and did not even play for a replay, running out 4-2 winners and going into the hat for the First Round Proper for the first time since 1978/79 when they played at Barnsley. Cropper, Townsend, Whitehead and Andy Smith got the goals.

When the draw was made, Bournemouth on the sunny south coast was to be the destination and plans were laid for various groups to travel and for many to make a weekend of it.

At that time Bournemouth’s Dean Court stadium was being remodelled and only three sides of the ground were in use.

This proved to be more than enough for the 4,144 fans on Saturday 17th November.

Sadly the League side won 3-0 that day but Worksop were by no means outclassed.

The Worksop team was: Jamie Holmshaw; Krystof Kotylo, Ryan Davis, Darren Bradshaw, Gary Bennett, Andy Gray, Gavin Smith, Carl Smith, Linden Whitehead(c), Gary Townsend and Dene Cropper. Subs:- Martin Diggle, Chris Waddle, Andy Smith, Ryan Ludlam and Nicky Allen (Gk).