Worksop Town edge a tight encounter to go nine points clear of second-placed Penistone Church.
Worksop Town beat Penistone Church 2-1 to go nine points clear at the top of the table. A sweet strike from Craig Mitchell and a wonder goal from Matthew Sykes in the first half were enough to give the Tigers the all-important three points. Andrew Ring got on the scoresheet in the final ten minutes, which ultimately proved to be only a consolation.
The game started with a fast tempo. Worksop had the first chances of the game – both fell to the Tigers number ten Mitchell. Firstly, good play down the left allowed Lee Hill to slip the ball into the feet of Mitchell, who dropped the shoulder and got past his marker before his rifled effort was palmed over the bar. Shortly after, a lovely ball from Matt Sykes to the left-hand side fell to Steve Woolley, whose fantastic delivery into the box landed to Mitchell who couldn’t convert the chance as it was poked into the side-netting.
However, the forward then gave Worksop Town a 6th-minute lead. A clearance upfield from Matt Reay was flicked on by Mitchell to Steve McDonnell. McDonnell’s touch was heavy which allowed Mitchell to dispatch a sweet strike which flashed past the ‘keeper.
Worksop doubled their advantage in the 14th minute. Sykes collected the ball deep inside the Church half. The talisman pressed forward with the ball and, 25 yards out, unleashed a devastating shot that curled away from Penistone keeper Chris Snaith and into the top left-hand corner of the goal.
Penistone almost got themselves back into the game 25 minutes in. In-form Nathan Keightley beat the offside trap and drove into the Worksop box. The last man Matt Reay slid in to try and stop the winger, but Keightley cut inside and squared the ball to Andrew Ring for an easy tap-in; however, celebrations were thwarted as the linesman raised his flag for offside.
Our visitors were searching for that all-important goal to get themselves back into contention. A great through-ball to Ring allowed the forward to get a shot off, but his effort on goal was matched by a superb save from Tigers ‘keeper Dave Reay.
The start of the second half started with Penistone dominating the possession, as Worksop sat back and soaked up pressure in the first 20 minutes from the restart.
The Church pumped the ball into the Worksop box and full-back Deegan Atherton headed the ball away from danger, but the ball fell to midfielder Jordan Coduri who hit a fierce shot that stung the hands of goalkeeper Reay.
After riding the waves of Penistone attacks, the Tigers had a good five-minute spell where we almost scored from a great move down the right. A great ball into the box from Atherton fell to Mitchell, who hit a dangerous shot towards goal that swerved away from the target.
That man Sykes almost put the game to bed. A beautiful 30-yard ball from midfielder Steve Woolley went to the foot of Sykes who trapped the ball to perfection. The tricky winger ran forward with the ball, did a step-over, and smashed a lovely shot that whizzed just wide of the Penistone goal.
The visitors then got themselves back into the game. Another ball was sprayed into target man Ring, who took it in his stride before he burying his effort past Reay to set up a nervy finish at Sandy Lane.
Worksop should’ve got their two-goal cushion back; a great ball from Mitchell landed to the unmarked Sykes out on the left. His first touch was second to none, but his effort towards goal unfortunately couldn’t find the target.
Worksop held on to claim all three points and continue their winning streak, which now stretches to 12 League games.
Line-up: D. Reay, Atherton, Hill, Woolley, Wankiewicz, M. Reay, Patterson (C), McDonnell (Jordan), Sykes, Mitchell (Brunt), Karkach (Goodwin)
Unused subs: Pemberton, Ward
Goals: Mitchell (6), Sykes (14); Ring (79)
Bookings: McDonnell (78)