Worksop leave it late to snatch a point

Worksop equalised on two occasions before Knaresborough Town looked like they had seen the game out for a good win until Matt Sykes popped up to slam home his shot and send the Tigers fans into raptures.

The host’s, before the tie, sat top of the tree after a great start to life in the NCEL Premier Division following their title winning campaign last season. In their previous fixture, Dan Thirkell netted in the dying embers to nick a 0-1 victory away at Thackley in midweek.

The Tigers thumped Athersley Rec 1-6 at Sheerien Park last time out to end a string of defeats.

The home side got off to a flying start. Ben Cohen accelerated down the left flank before the winger drilled the ball across goal to Nick Black who was on hand to slide in the opener.

The Tigers had their first opportunity of the game, ten minutes in. Steve Woolley carried the ball through the Knaresborough midfield before playing it to Craig Mitchell who subsequently set Sykes up for the shot in which he saw his effort flash across the face of goal and wide of the upright.

A quarter into the game, Knaresborough had two opportunities to double their advantage.

Firstly, Ben Cohen weaved his way into the area but Dave Reay rushed off his line and palmed the chance away to safety.

Will Lenehan then nodded a deep free-kick, from Dan Thirkell, into the middle where Sam Cook powered his header over the bar.

Moments later, the Tigers were almost on level terms. Max Pemberton switched the ball out to Steve Woolley who proceeded to cut inside and rifle a shot towards goal which cannoned off the post and went behind for a goal-kick.

The Tigers were on level terms just before the half hour mark. Matty Sykes rode a number of challenges down the left before pulling the ball back to Kyle Jordan who let it roll across his body body before firing a magnificent curling effort beyond the grasp of Liam Corbett, and into the bottom corner.

The game was back in favour of the host’s as ten minutes later, Rob Youhill used his quick feet to wrong-foot Matt Sykes and then he fizzed a low cross towards the back stick where Ben Cohen was free to easily tap home.

With five minutes to go until the break, Matt Sykes hammered one home to even the contest. From around thirty yards out, Matt Sykes was allowed too much space and the newly deployed wing-back proceeded to take a touch before rifling his shot over the keeper and into the back of the net. Everyone in at Manse Lane knew that the ball was heading in the back of the net the moment it left his foot!

The referee then blew for the break to allow both teams to regroup after a frantic first forty-five minutes.

The Tigers started the second half more positively as they conjured up two chances in as many minutes.

Steve Woolley sprayed the ball onto the left where Sykes nutmegged his first man before dragging his shot wide of the far post.

Then in a similar move, Woolley threaded Sykes down the left but disappointingly, Sykes sliced his shot into the side-netting.

Moments later, Ben Cohen won a free-kick from around thirty yards away from goal. The winger whipped his set-piece around the wall and just inches wide of Dave Reay’s top left corner.

Just after the hour mark, Knaresborough Town regained the lead for the third time this afternoon. Debutant Julian Lawrence let his man race away from him which allowed Brad Walker to play a ‘give-and-go’ with Black before bending his shot, from similar range to Jordan’s first half strike, into the bottom corner.

Would the Tigers be able to equalise once more?

Steve Woolley then almost levelled things up with a trademark set-piece. His effort beat the wall but the keeper managed to scamper across and tip the goal-bound effort wide. The following corner came to nothing as Matt Reay misjudged his jump as he glanced it wide.

With ten minutes to go, Matt Sykes’ volley, from the edge of the area, deflected off Walker on its path to goal which took the pace off the ball allowing the keeper to easily gather it up.

Tomas Poole was brought on and he add a lot more energy into the game. He did brilliantly to set himself up for a shot, he knocked it past one player and chipped it over the next however, he failed to capitalise as he put the ball wide of the target whilst being shoved over.

Time was running out for the Tigers. Charlie Taylor headed Max Pemberton’s dinked cross from the right over from close range.

Tigers fans felt that was the last chance they’d have to equalise and Knaresborough supporters would have been licking their lips at the thought of extending their stint as table toppers.

However, in the final minute of injury time, Worksop Town made it 3-3. Matt Sykes’ first initial shot was desperately blocked by the legs of Greg Anderson but he made no mistake with his secondary effort as he slammed his shot under the keeper to snatch a point.

Referee brought proceedings to an end in a great advert for Northern Counties Eastern League football.

We next travel to Sheffield FC on Tuesday night in the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup on Tuesday, 9th October.

Attendance: 272

Goals: Black (2’), Cohen (36’), Walker (63’); Jordan (28’), Sykes (40’, 90+4’)

Worksop Town: Dave Reay, Liam Royles, Matt Sykes, Matt Reay (Charlie Taylor), Jamie Price, Max Pemberton, Steve Woolley, Laurie Wilson, Julian Lawrence (Tomas Poole), Kyle Jordan, Craig Mitchell (Aaron Moxam)

Unused Subs: Deegan Atherton, Michael Trench

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