Worksop Town moved into the playoff positions on Saturday afternoon after a 4-1 comeback win over Pickering Town at the Recreation Ground.
The Tigers fell behind to a spectacular effort from Jackson Jowett, before a quartet of goals from Steven McDonnell, Liam Bateman and two from first-half substitute James Baxendale completed a spirited comeback.
Worksop dominated the opening exchanges and enjoyed a lot of breathing room on either flank. On eight minutes, the first chance of the game fell to McDonnell, who had latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out. McDonnell tried his luck and forced Adam Kelsey into an uncomfortable save after the ball skidded off the sodden turf.
Five minutes later, Pickering squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead. Off the back of a blocked effort from Connor Smythe, the hosts cantered across the field on a rapid counterattack. Brandon Holdsworth received the ball in behind the scrambling defence and had only the Tiernan Brooks to beat, but the ‘keeper was quick off his line and claimed the ball from the forward’s feet.
The Pikes found their feet and took the lead on 22 minutes, when, out of nowhere, Jowett curled a superb effort into the top-left corner from the edge of the box and beat the outstretched gloves of Brooks.
Worksop responded well to the setback, and pulled level 10 minutes later. The ever-threatening right-back Bateman sent a sumptuous cross into the mixer with the hope of picking out McDonnell, who rose well and headed in from an acute angle. Goalkeeper Kelsey stood rooted to the spot.
Five minutes later, Worksop completed the comeback as Bateman netted his second goal in Tigers colours. Bateman had slipped in quietly at the far post and did well to slot home from Broadhead’s deep cross.
The Tigers started the second half in control and were presented with a great chance 10 minutes after the restart, when Ben Tomlinson took advantage of a slip from defender Jake Watson. Tomlinson broke free but was admirably denied by a brave stop from Kelsey.
Town kicked it up a notch as they sought to add a third, which came on the hour mark. Minutes after his introduction, substitute Sam Ackroyd fought well to find space wide on the right and fire a delivery across the box. Veteran midfielder Baxendale’s outstretched foot met the cross with a slight touch to redirect beyond the goalkeeper.
The visitors were not content with their two-goal lead, and continued to plunder through the driving rain with a string of dangerous attacks. Ackroyd posed a real threat and sent some neat balls across, but the incoming attackers could not get the vital touch on the deliveries.
Brooks was called upon to produce a strong save late-on as Pickering looked to steal a goal back. Substitute Matt Broadley broke free in the box and fired a venomous strike towards goal, but the youthful ‘keeper was equal to the effort and made the save.
Baxendale wrapped up the three points with a deft chip over a stranded Kelsey. Communication among Pickering’s defensive ranks broke down, allowing the 29-year-old to pick up possession on the corner of the penalty area. Baxendale’s chip was inch-perfect, lobbing the ‘keeper as it nestled into the netting behind the far post.
Gloves-man Brooks made another brilliant stop at the death off a penalty from former Tiger Jack Johnson, whose blistering penalty was excellently saved by the Notts County loanee’s feet.
Worksop’s three points see them move into fifth in the Northern Premier League Division East, the last of the playoff spots. Craig Parry’s men have a 10-day rest before taking to the field again as they host Dunston UTS on Tuesday 12 October.