Worksop take second spot by beating leaders

Worksop Town battled through a second half onslaught to beat league leaders Skelmersdale 3-2 and move to within a point of top spot.

Tigers had skipper Leon Mettam to thank for another two goals, but it was a gritty defensive effort in the later stages that secured victory.

A miscued shot from Conor Higginson was the first attempt from either side, and although it dipped, there was little danger to Zac Hibbert’s goal.

The visitors should have taken the lead when Chris Salt’s error set Dean Astbury in on goal, and when he cut the ball back Matty Hughes’ goalbound drive was cleared off the line by Phil Roe.

After an encouraging first quarter of an hour for Tigers, they put together a fantastic move with several first time passes ending in a Jack Muldoon flick and Higginson’s stinging volley that Hibbert palmed over the bar.

Worksop enjoyed a distinct height advantage and threatened from Muldoon’s long throw, Tom Denton beating Hibbert in the air and watching in despair as Shane Clarke knocked the ball over the bar.

At the other end Jon Stewart spilled a corner, but made amends with a great follow up save before collecting the ball under pressure.

Skelmersdale controlled a lot of the play for a 15 minute spell, the closest they came to a goal a Hughes strike that fizzed just wide of the far post.

They found themselves a goal down in the 32nd minute however, Muldoon powering his way past Tom Ince and crossing to the middle where Denton arrived to head home.

Stewart got down well to his right to tip another Hughes shot round the corner, after Josh Hill had lost the ball in the middle and allowed Skelmersdale to break.

The second half was only 30 seconds old when Tigers went 2-0 up, a mistake allowing Mettam to get the ball just inside the box before looking up and lobbing Hibbert brillianty for number 35 for the season.

Jack Adams was brought on in the 50th minute to replace Clarke who was struggling to shake off a knock.

Tigers were in dreamland two minutes later, as Adams released Mettam through the middle with a fantastic ball and Hibbert came out to foul the striker and concede a penalty.

Mettam took the spot-kick and sent the keeper the wrong way for a 3-0 lead.

And when Denton played Higginson clean through, Worksop should have been out of sight, but he opted to feed Mettam who saw his tame shot saved.

Worksop rued the miss, Skelmersdale replying instantly as Neil Prince netted a rebound from Stewart’s initial save.

A minute later it was 3-2, Kenny Strickland striding into space and thumping a fantastic strike into the roof of the net from distance.

Skelmersdale, with their tails up, were almost level when Astbury ran through and slid the ball just wide of the far post.

Mettam swivelled and tried his luck from 25 yards with a half volley and it soared just over. He then limped off injured as Aaron Cole came on.

With no Clarke to help Tigers retain control in the middle, Skelmersdale poured forward impressively, and they came close to levelling as Ince brought a good save from Stewart.

Time seemed to stand still when the ball reached Adam Morning and he skewed a half volley inches past the post.

Worksop held firm to move into second in the table.

Worksop: Stewart 7, Pursehouse 7, ROE 8, Scott 7, Hill 8, Salt 7, Muldoon 8, Clarke 7 (Adams 50), Denton 8, Mettam 8 (Cole 72), Higginson 7. Not used: Jackson, Husbands, Barnett.

Skelmersdale: Hibbert, Strickland, Ince, Hardwick, Wylie, Dunn, Hughes, Simpson, Astbury, Prince, Morning. Not used: Peet, O’Reilly, Greene, Flood, Stoker.

Referee: S. Richardson. Assistants: M. Curwood, K. Silcock.

Goalscorers: Denton 32, Mettam 46, 52 (pen); Prince 54, Strickland 55

Yellows: Adams 79, Denton 87; Hughes 59

Attendance: 532.