Worksop Town humbled by hungry Maltby Main in derby day disappointment

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Worksop Town were humbled by the heart, desire and determination of Maltby Main, on a bitterly disappointing derby day.

Tigers started the day top of the NCEL Premier table, and surrendered their position like a side going through the motions at Muglet Lane.

Maltby were worth their 3-2 victory having battled for 90 minutes, and their visitors, who dropped to third, got what they deserved.

But it all started so well.

An attacking free-kick in the third minute was cleared only as far as Alex Nightingale, and the little midfielder swept a cracking first-time volley over Jamie Bailey and into the far corner of the net.

We’ve been here before, however, with a lightning quick start followed by a performance lacking all the attributes you’d expect of a side supposedly challenging for a league title.

A bobbly, sloping pitch made it difficult for both sides to play anything attractive, but there were sniffs of chances at each end - Phil Roe very nearly bursting into space in the box, and Maltby’s Lewis Bemrose seeing his hooked cross tipped over the bar by Jon Kennedy.

After half an hour of fairly ugly football all round, Main found an equaliser, Nicky Darker given far too much space in the box, heading a free-kick past Kennedy.

It was little surprise that the home side’s joy had come from a set-piece, persistent fouling by Worksop affording them plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the box.

The goal swung momentum entirely in Maltby’s favour, Tigers simply not battling hard enough for first balls, and getting no where near the second ones.

Ryan Carroll almost benefitted from the visitors’ lack of spark, finding time to bring the ball down at the back post, firing it well over on the turn.

Main took a deserved lead a minute before the break, Joshua Nodder smashing a penalty into the net, Worksop mystified as to the offence, the referee seeing a handball.

And things took a turn for the disastrous in first half stoppage time, a Maltby corner met by Lee Hill, who simply wanted to get there more than his marker, and headed in Main’s third.

Worksop fans voiced their disapproval at the performance when the half-time whistle went, while club staff vented at the referee over the penalty award - protestations that would see assistant manager Chris Adam removed from proceedings.

Tigers should have reduced the deficit when James Cottingham’s cross found Andy Ofosu at the back post, the striker heading wide.

The Maltby bench then had their heads in their hands, when Steven Hopewell broke into the area all alone and was denied by a brave stop by Kennedy.

As the game opened up, Worksop counter attacked through Ofosu, the big striker taking too many touches but appearing to be fouled in the box as the ball went out of play, referee Mr Meredith unmoved.

Seconds later Conner White caught Mitch Husbands late and picked up the game’s first booking, Maltby incensed given the referee’s prior leniency to the visitors.

Ofosu had taken the injured Matt Booth’s place after half an hour of the game, and having failed to run off a knock of his own, was replaced by Kyle Jordan with an hour gone.

And Julian Lawrence was the next to go down hurt, Conor Higginson coming on to take his place, Worksop switching to a flat back four.

It looked all so easy for Maltby, who were simply allowing Tigers to play the ball long and then clearing their lines.

But after 35 forgettable minutes, Worksop somehow grabbed a lifeline, Jordan going down under a shove in the area to earn a penalty.

The league’s leading goalscorer saw his spot-kick well saved by Bailey, but followed it in to tap home for 3-2.

There was some more huffing and puffing, all of it far too little, far too late, and actually Main were the side with most of the attacking possession as time ran out.

Maltby celebrated wildly, having beaten local rivals, and Worksop trudged off looking lost - a fitting term for a talented team in such a slump.

Maltby Main: Bailey, White, Hibbert, Darker, Austin, Hill, Forster (Gibson 90), Bemrose, Carroll (Hemmingway 82), Hopewell, Nodder (Rigby 86). Not used: Ballington, Poolev.

Worksop Town: Kennedy 5, Cottingham 3, Roe 3, Lawrence 3 (Higginson 69), HADFIELD 5, Henshaw 3, Woolley 3, Harrison 3, Booth 4 (Ofosu 32 3) (Jordan 62), Husbands 3, Nightingale 3. Not used: Waddle, Ward.

Referee: Mr S. Meredith. Assistants: Mr I. Jackson, Mr A. Wingate.

Goalscorers: Darker 31, Nodder 44, Hill 45; Nightingale 3, Jordan 80 (pen)

Yellows: White 59; Jordan 82

Attendance: 190.