Skipper Smith leads the Tigers onto League Cup success!

The Under-19s picked up the first piece of silverware this season by beating Retford United in the final of the NMDFL League Cup.

A brace from captain Alfie Smith in the first half put the Tigers into a firm lead, before a fine strike from Regan Watkinson helped push Worksop further away from their Bassetlaw rivals, who just couldn’t find a way past a resolute James Gamble.

The Tigers got off to a dream start as Smith put them ahead on six minutes. Worksop tried a fancy free-kick routine as Alfie Dodsworth ran over the ball and Jay Evison rolled it into the path of Jack Charlesworth, who set himself to take a pop at goal. The midfielder’s poor attempt worked wonders as it quickly switched from a scuffed effort to a pinpoint pass which Dodsworth latched onto, but his shot was blocked by Liam Bennett. The ball fizzed into the air where Bobby Thompson sliced an effort into the path of Smith, who took the ball down with his thigh before firing his shot into the bottom corner.

After being stunned with that early goal, Retford had their first opportunity of the game ten minutes in. Alex Wonham played a dinked ball into the middle where George White arrived in the area unmarked, however his first touch was poor which allowed Gamble to pounce on the ball before the forward could capitalise.

Ten minutes later, Carter Widdowson tested the Tigers number one with a 25-yard free-kick which stung the gloves of Gamble as he held onto the effort down low.

Moments later, Gamble was back into the firing line as he produced a phenomenal save to keep his side’s lead intact. White and Alex Wonham linked up once again as the former pulled the ball back for the latter, but Wonham’s half-volley, which was destined for the bottom left, was magnificently pushed wide by the Tigers ‘keeper.

Liam Jepson then tried his luck with a low drive from the edge of the area which was matched with a routine save at the goalkeeper’s near post.

Seven minutes before the break, Worksop doubled their advantage. Set-piece specialist Charlesworth picked out the late run of Smith, executing a pinpoint cross for the captain who diverted the delivery past Levi Owen with a powerful header.

Goalscorer almost turned goal-provider on the stroke of half-time. Smith brought down a high ball and carried it down to the byline, before chipping it into the middle where Evison saw his volley, on the stretch, saved by Owen.

The half-time whistle soon went with the Tigers leading 2-0, knowing that all they needed to do is show that resilient side they have shown all season to win the Cup.

Retford were left with a mountain to climb, but things got much worse for the Badgers as two minutes after the restart, Worksop added a third. Local boy Watkinson jinked his way towards the edge of the area, taking on several players on his venture, before opening up his body and rifling a thunderous strike past the out-stretched Owen.

Moments after the goal, Luke Morton fired an audacious 35-yard volley, after a headed clearance ended up in his channel, which was met by Gamble who scampered across his line to push wide.

That third goal meant that the Tigers could take their foot off the gas in an attacking sense and help on the defensive front to try and preserve that clean sheet, which the backline deserved after their efforts.

Just after the hour mark, Alfie Gaughan raced down the right before threading a ball towards the back stick where Sam Jones was on hand to make an important block to stop Liam Jepson from pulling a goal back.

Dodsworth then went close as his mazy run ended in disappointment as the number ten’s curling effort, on his right peg, was tipped wide by the Badgers’ number one.

The prolific forward was causing problems once again as he allowed Evison’s pull-back to come across his body, but Dodsworth’s shot on the swivel went just inches wide of the near post.

As we entered the last quarter, Gamble produced the save of the game to deny United. A ball from wide right was whipped into the pocket of space between the ‘keeper and his six-yard area. Arriving was Mason Lee who struck first time, but was stopped by a point-blank save from Gamble who did enough to send the ball behind.

On the stroke of full-time, Smith was denied his hat-trick. Charlesworth floated a ball towards the tail-end of the six yard area where Smith planted his header into the ground, but on its way back up and towards the top corner, Levi Owen got fingertips to the ball to send it wide of the upright.

That didn’t matter as the referee brought the game to an end which confirmed Worksop Town Under-19s as League Cup Champions. A fantastic performance from everyone in a Tigers shirt.

A big congratulations to Aiden, Joe, Alex, and the whole squad on the win to add another very proud moment in our history.

Attendance: 235

Goals: Smith (6’, 38’), Watkinson (47’)

Retford United: Levi Owen, Lawson Widdowson, Connor Siggee, Liam Bennett (C), Luke Morton, Carter Widdowson, Alfie Gaughan, Mason Lee, Alex Wonham, George White, Liam Jepson.

Subs: Hari Singh, Oliver Ashwell, Nathanial Firth, Alex Bennett, Peter Voase.

Worksop Town: James Gamble, Sam Jones, Ziah McClaren, Liam Smart, Alfie Smith (C), Jack Shaw, Regan Watkinson, Jack Charlesworth, Jay Evison, Alfie Dodsworth, Bobby Thompson.

Subs: Deegan Atherton, Isaac Darien.

By Devon Cash

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