Another terrific spectacle finally saw the Tigers overcome Shepshed Dynamo after extra time. A professional, no nonsense display on a tricky pitch made it a tough night but Worksop were never behind in both ties!
It was a fiery start to this game which showed us what was to come with tackles going in left, right and centre, neither side creating a chance of note.
The deadlock was broken on the 20 minute mark by Kyle Jordan. A well worked route one goal saw a ball up to target man Craig Mitchell and the big striker headed it into KJ’s path, Jordan then executed a deft lob over the on-rushing keeper and saw his finish land in the bottom corner.
After a penalty appeal and a stoppage in play for the home captain Jake Betts after he collided with keeper Dave Reay, Shepshed upped the pressure.
They found their equaliser minutes from the half time whistle after Chris Acotts mazy run and cross from the left found the un-marked Celson Patrocinio at the back post to comfortably head the equaliser.
Into the second half and the game had a period of calm, both sides taking time to figure out their next move before pouncing at eachother once again.
The game was thought to be have been won by a worthy goal from sub Tomas Poole, the winger cut inside from the right 25 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the far corner with the ball clipping the post on its way in. Poole could have doubled his tally minutes later, he rounded the keeper who was caught in no-mans land but couldn’t divert his effort goal-wards from out wide.
The home side then upped the ante with twenty minutes to go, the pressure was unrelenting and sensing an equaliser was coming they found it with virtually the last kick of normal time. The keeper was up for a corner and confusion reigned, the initial header was cleared off the line but Courtney Meade had the presence of mind to head back goalwards and send the Dovecote into raptures.
Extra-time then ensued and the Tigers had regrouped, they won a corner of their own and it was centre back Steve Wankiewicz who powerfully headed Worksop back in front once again, despite the lingering sense that this one was far from over!
Dynamo did hit back six minutes later through substitute striker Ryan Robbins, the big man got on the end of a long ball to lash home a volley just inside the box. He had been shown a red card at Sandy Lane three days prior and his celebration oozed of bitterness, Robbins pranced past the away dugout eyeing up his culprits.
The last fifteen minutes of extra time then began with the score-line locked at 3-3.
Super sub Mark Simpson then took it upon himself to win the game for the Tigers, his prolific qualities proving decisive. Literally seconds after the kick-off a high ball in to the box fell to Simpson who managed to get hold of the ball and cut inside, he then rolled a calm effort past the keepers near post with his left foot to give us yet another lead.
Worksop then finally got the two goal lead they were seeking over the two ties, Simpson was sent clear by Mitchell and executed a perfect lob over the on-rushing keeper to make it 3-5!
Shepshed understandbly went gung-ho, hitting both the crossbar and post in a matter of minutes. They bit back again with five minutes to go, a huge punt into the box was headed across goal and Joe Pheasant gave the home side a lifeline.
A free-kick at the death summed the performance up for the Tigers in my mind. The shouts of organisation and determination thundered through the night sky as the dangerous kick was flung into the box, Dave Reay rushed out and took everything, the ball and a dozen men in the process, the commanding keeper took the pressure of the away side in those final few seconds before, sadly, the very last whistle blew on this contest and ended this terrific match-up between two masters of entertainment.
If only the big wigs at FA HQ knew of such magic in these early rounds, we could have been watching this classic via television replays for years to come.
TIGERS XI: Reay, Woolley, Wankiewicz, Pemberton, Trench, Nyoni (Sykes), Price (C) (Goodwin), Patterson, Brunt (Simpson), Jordan (Poole), Mitchell
SUBS NOT USED: Atherton, Royles, B.Wilson
GOALS: TIGERS – Jordan (20), Poole (72), Wankiewicz (94), Simpson (106, 112)
SHEPSHED – Patrocinio (40), Meade (90), Robbins (101), Pheasant (115)
TIGERS MOM: Mark Simpson
The award could of gone to anyone with the whole team showing the intense battling qualities which see you over the line in games like this. Michael Trench didn’t put a foot wrong at the back, Danny Patterson was a monster in the middle and Craig Mitchell led the line brilliantly again. MOM for me though goes to Mark Simpson who came on and effectively won us the tie with his two calm finishes, Tomas Poole could have also had the award with his spectacular goal from range.