Eccleshill United 0-1 Worksop Town
Sizzling Sykes strike wins the game for the Tigers
An end to end game was edged by an exciting Worksop side with substitute Matt Sykes volleying home to win the game for Town.
Both sides were coming into this contest on the back of midweek victories. This was the home side’s fourth fixture after their NCEL Division One Play-Off success where they beat Grimsby Borough 3-2 after extra time. They drew their opening game against Thackley, followed by a narrow loss to Congleton Town in the FA Cup before beating Athersley Recreation, 1-2, on Tuesday night.
The Tigers battled their way to a 4-5 win in the FA Cup Replay at Shepshed Dynamo, with the previous outing finishing 3-3 at Sandy Lane. With the game going to extra time, would fatigue be a factor today?
The home side opened the chances in the opening four minutes. Johnathan Irving cut in from the right and crossed towards the back post where dangerman Luke Harrop rose highest but failed to get the required touch on the ball to send it goal-wards and the cross instead went out for a goal-kick.
Ten minutes later, Connor Brunt was threaded through on goal by Tomas Poole. Brunt skipped past the challenge from Bradley but saw his shot deflect over the bar by the challenge of Aran Basi. Cecil Nyoni then saw his front post header fly inches over the bar.
United ought to have taken the lead in the twenty-third minute. Harrop received the ball out wide and beautifully picked out the run of Irving who saw his weak diving header drift wide of the post.
It was becoming apparent throughout the game that the Tigers needed to limit Luke Harrop’s freedom as he was the main attacking outlet for the Eagles. Matthew Stor teed up Harrop on the edge of the area but the winger curled his effort wide.
Worksop Town’s best chance of the game came five minutes after the half hour mark. Steve Woolley left his marker in the dust by flicking the ball around him and crossing into the middle where Craig Mitchell nodded it over the bar.
Two minutes later, Mitchell received the ball with his back to goal. His first touch was excellent and took him away from Bradley who was hot on his heels. Mitchell spun and struck a thunderous effort which cannoned of the face of the crossbar before being cleared by Basi.
Eccleshill countered with a pump upfield landing at the feet of Flaherty. Charlie Flaherty slipped in Chris Lever but the tall striker saw his shot caught by Reay.
Town started the second half emphatically and were on top for the first thirty minutes of it. Craig Mitchell out-muscled Stor to latch onto Trench’s pass. Mitchell set himself before seeing his rifled attempt patted away by Smith.
Michael Trench then saw his whipped cross towards the back stick poked wide by Ross Goodwin.
Poole then had two chances to get Worksop ahead. Firstly, Michael Trench won a free-kick on the left. Trench shot up and took the free-kick short to Woolley who ran to the byline before driving the ball into the middle where Lever had to put the ball out for a corner to stop a Tigers forward putting it in. Woolley took the corner and Poole diverted it towards goal but Cooper was on hand to block and clear it on the line. Poole then picked the ball up on the right flank and cut in, he ran along the edge of the area until he made space for himself where he curled a shot, intended for the bottom corner, just inches wide.
Matt Sykes replaced Connor Brunt and within a matter of minutes, he broke the stalemate on the hour mark. Jamie Price crossed towards the back end of the six yard box where Matthew Stor headed across his own box only to Matt Sykes who struck a sweet left footed volley past the grasp of the keeper and into the bottom corner.
United thought they had equalised moments after Worksop opened the scoring. Sam Bradley’s volley looped over the prominent figure of David Reay but Pemberton managed to race back and acrobatically clear the ball off the line. Eagles players protested that the ball had crossed the line but the linesman denied any claims.
With twenty minutes remaining, a good interchange of passes between Price, Mitchell and Goodwin allowed Mitchell to play through the latter but unfortunately for the Tigers, Goodwin dragged his shot wide of the target.
Soon after, Ben Grech-Brooksbank chested down Lever’s flick on but saw his half volley superbly saved by David Reay.
Kyle Jordan then entered the fray and almost instantly set up a potential second for Town. Jordan held up the ball before sharply turning and threading Craig Mitchell through on goal. Mitchell seemed to take the ball to wide which narrowed the angle. Mitchell hit his effort hard and low but Smith managed to deflect the ball wide with his feet.
Harrop then floated a ball towards the back post where Max Pemberton seemed to do enough to put off Steven Hollingworth who subsequently headed high over the bar.
Moments later, Chris Lever conjured up a chance to level the game. Lever managed to cut across the challenge of Wankiewicz before he hammered a shot just wide of the upright.
Jordan then had the chance to put the game to bed. Mitchell set Jordan free on goal with a flick on. Jordan accelerated towards goal before seeing his fierce strike pushed into the sidenetting by Smith.
Worksop kept the ball well in the five or so minutes added on to claim all three points.
The Tigers are on the road again as they travel up To Liversedge on Tuesday, 21st August. 7.45pm kick-off.
TIGERS MOTM: Steve Woolley
Again it’s Woolley who, deservingly, is getting the plaudits. Woolley was absolutely fantastic on the ball and got Worksop out of some tight positions with his quick thinking and fast movement. His range of passing and intelligence in play would still put Iniesta to shame. He started the game at right-back but when he was deployed at central-midfield, he controlled the tempo from the middle of the park. What a magnificent player to watch!
By Devon Louis Cash
Goals: Sykes (60’)
Worksop Town: David Reay, Steven Woolley, Michael Trench, Danny Patterson, Steve Wankiewicz, Max Pemberton, Jamie Price, Cecil Nyoni (Ross Goodwin), Craig Mitchell, Tomas Poole (Kyle Jordan), Connor Brunt (Matt Sykes)
Unused Subs: Liam Royles, Mark Simpson