A short journey on the A57 to Worksop for an evening game this week. The continual rain of the day has stopped and cleared skies meant the temperature had fallen to 6 degrees with the odd fog swirls to pass through, more typical weather for November. There was no chance that the rain could have caused postponement due to the state of the art all-weather pitch.
I last visited here on 22nd of February 2020 when the fear of the club folding was in the air. The club needed £60 000 to survive of which £30 000 had been promised from Peter Whitehead, owner of the ground, if the other £30 000 could be raised. £24 000 had been raised and the full £30 000 was achieved by the end of that month. This meant that Peter Whitehead would takeover the club. Getting on for two years on and what a change, a new entrance to the ground which incorporates new changing rooms, a covered terraced area behind that goal and a small covered seating area to one side greet you along with the all-weather pitch. The seated stand down one side of the ground seemed to be cleaner with the older terraced shed end still in place along with the open terraced side. What a great impression and the on field performances have gone forward too. A win would have put Worksop only three points behind the League leaders Stockton Town with a further two games in hand. The good news continued in that the crowd of 582 was Worksops highest home league attendance of the season, a fact that was evident in that parking was more difficult than before.
The signage outside the ground, for the 1861 coffee lounge and on the program is also new putting forward their claim to be the fourth oldest football club in England. This is a fact that is disputed by Martin Westbury in his excellent book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889’. He states on page 155- ‘I will cause further controversy by suggesting Worksop Town FC has an 1873 foundation date’.
I wrote on that previous visit about Worksops history and about their opponents Stocksbridge Park Steels when I visited them so I will not repeat myself.
Worksop Town 4 Stocksbridge Park Steels 1
Northern Premier League – East Tuesday 15th November 2022
The Tigers v The Steels
Worksop, yellow shirts and black shorts: Stocksbridge, red shirts with white short sleeves and red shorts.
With Worksop having been in free flow scoring in their most recent games I was surprised that after only 2 minutes it was ex Worksop player Tomas Poole who put Stocksbridge ahead. A misplaced pass in the Worksop goal area gave Poole the chance to curl the ball with his right foot into the top left hand corner of the net.
The Tigers did not panic and started to play the ball out to the wings and put pressure on Stocksbridge. Within 5 minutes Jay Rollins playing on the right with number 11 on his back put over a pin point cross for Liam Hughes to rise above the defense and head home for 1-1.The pressure on Stocksbridge did not relent and Worksop were ahead on 11 minutes through Jack Broadhead, He headed in another neat chip but collided with the goal post and the keeper which took sometime for both to recover. It was Jay Rollins again causing trouble that put in a cross that seemed to go behind the goal line in the mass of players but it only came out to be hit back along the ground for Jack Broadhead to turn and make sure, 3-1 to Worksop.
Worksop increased their lead four minutes before half time when goalkeeper Sebastian Malkowski’s long kick was headed down to Liam Hardy who hit the ball with his left foot first time past keeper Hampshaw’s diving hand.
Worksops easy half time lead was met by another rain shower which fortunately was short lived.
The Stocksbridge half time team talk must have been good because in the second half they immediately looked to hjave more shape, not leaving gaps for opposing players to run into or onto and their wing backs played further out to the sides of the pitch which although not totally did reduce Jay Rollins, my man of the match, from getting to the byline and delivering pin point crosses. Stocksbridge even hit the bar on 70 minutes but Worksop also made changes presumably to rest players for Saturday that seemed to disrupt their flow.
Worksop were worthy winners and it will be intriguing to see if they can catch Stockton and stay up there for a promotion that will match the off field organisation. There are many downs in football but for Worksop it seems a very positive up.
For all the good news the chips were disappointing in that they were warm, soggy on the inside and left a greasy taste that lingered. Sorry to say a score of only 58, I suppose you can’t win everything.