Both teams came into the Sandy Lane Derby with contrasting objectives, with Handsworth fighting out for that coveted second place and the Tigers preparing building blocks for next season.
Despite those two mentalities the game was surprisingly even, a good, honest contest between the two sides on the night which could well have ended a draw and neither side would have complained.
The game saw old faces Jed Phillips and Jordan Turner line up for the Ambers, both who played big parts in the first half of our season. Worksop lined up in a 5-2-2-1 formation with wing-backs on the night in Tiler Lysons on the right and the returning James Milner on the left. Recent signings Matty Overton and Dan Gardner were making their debuts and both looked comfortable in what was a frantic first ten minutes. The home side stemmed Handsworths attacks well though by keeping an high line and could well have taken the lead after 20 minutes, debutant Matty Overton crept in from the right to meet a cross but his effort crept just wide of the post.
Soon after the Tigers went close again, James Milner picked the ball up on left and went past two on his way to the byline, he then cut inside and squared for Jack Holden but the midfielder could only put his shot over the bar whilst on the stretch, skimming the roof of the net.
Tigers were keeping the visitors at bay and was catching Jordan Turner offside time and time again by keeping a solid high line.
Just before the half-time whistle it was Handsworths turn to threaten in front of goal, Jordan Turner picked the ball up out on the left and headed towards the box, he hit a powerful effort from the angle across goal but could only shatter Callum Fieldings post, that action was the last of the first half, 0-0.
The second half began and it was the Ambers that came out with all the intent forcing lots of corners early on, their routine seemed to baffle many as all their attacking players were to stand either on the byline then run in or on the very edge of the box and all run in, the tactic seemed to eventually work though has they opened the scoring on the 70th minute mark.
The corner kick caused havoc in the box and was eventually cleared to the edge of the box and the grateful recipient Lee Cooksey was on hand to blast home left footed high into the net.
The Tigers responded and ten minutes later earned a free kick on the edge of the box through a great run by Subsitute Charlie Baird. It was Jack Barnett who stepped up and his side footed effort hit the wall and looped high towards the six yard box, after a slight scramble it was Mitch Husbands who impressively turned and hit goalwards to send the home fans into raptures and square the game up 1-1.
Promotion chasing Handsworth soon responded, after another corner caused mayhem in the six yard box it was sub Jonathan Hill who was on hand to turn the ball home, just two minutes after the Tigers had a foothold in the game.
With three minutes to go it was former player Jed Phillips, playing in centre midfield, who went through on goal and was tripped from behind to give the referee no choice but to award a penalty to the away side.
It was none other than Jordan Turner to take the kick and he put it straight down the middle to seal all three points for the Ambers.
Our younger side competed well and for long periods were very much in the game, bar a lack of concentration after our goal then the game could well have ended all square.
TIGERS XI: Fielding, Lysons, Boyd, Gardner, Bownes, Milner (Templeton), Holden, Barnett, Overton, Black (Baird), Husbands (c)
GOALS: Husbands (81)
Cooksey (70), Hill (83), Turner (pen 87)
TIGERS STAR MAN – Alex Boyd
For me, this is a player with a massive future in the game, Alex belies his age with every game with his composure and decision making abilities. Playing at centre half alongside Dan Gardner and Jay Bownes he won several commanding headers and was just as impressive with his feet, this quiet and unassuming lad will only get better and let’s hope the Tigers are the beneficiary of such developments.
By Jake Brown.