Late penalty drama as Tigers get out of jail

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Worksop Town escaped Stamford with a point on Non League Day, thanks to a last minute penalty from skipper Leon Mettam.

Tigers failed to produce much in the way of a performance, but their ability to fight to the death earned them a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

With time almost up in what was largely a poor quality affair at the Vic Couzens Stadium, Mettam was denied a goalscoring opportunity by home goalkeeper Alex Lynch.

The red card came out, Mettam dusted himself down and fired in a stoppage time leveller for Tigers.

Worksop got off to a poor start.

Just four minutes in, a ball was floated into the area by Ashley Robinson and the unmarked Jordan Smith nodded home past Liam Flynn.

A hopeful punt upfield by Laurence Gaughan saw Jack Muldoon and Mettam threatening, but neither put their name on the ball.

Tigers’ best play appeared to be all down the left hand side, as full-back Phil Roe got forward well despite suffering an early bang on the head.

But on 18 minutes, the left-back was still struggling to shake off the injury and was replaced by Alex Pursehouse.

It was a nothing game for most of the opening half hour, although Worksop were slowly but surely growing into it.

Mettam earned a yellow card for a dive in the box on 33 minutes.

And a minute later a corner from the right was headed into the top corner by Stamford full-back Luke Blakely, Flynn’s despairing dive beaten.

Tom Denton’s determined closing down of goalkeeper Alex Lynch saw the ball cannon off the striker, but he could only steer it into the path of Conor Higginson and he clipped the top of the bar.

Half-time saw a change for the men in yellow, the injured Higginson departing and James Cottingham coming on.

Lynch had his first save to make 30 seconds after the restart, Mettam’s low trundling effort was weak however.

A spell of pressure for the visitors was rewarded, when Cottingham’s sweetly struck low shot beat Lynch after good work from Denton.

But they almost gifted Stamford a third, Muldoon’s pass straight to Shawn Richards letting the man in red streak through and shoot, the ball just clearing the bar.

Another tumble in the box from Mettam earned just a corner, Stamford calling for a second yellow for the Worksop captain.

On 65 minutes Jordan Lemon sparked a scrum when he clattered into Nathan Haines very late, leaving the home defender prone and earning a yellow - much to the home side’s disgust.

With the game heating up, the referee did well to ignore loud home appeals for a penalty, Ryan Robbins hitting the deck under firm but fair attention from Kern Miller.

Mark Shaw rolled the dice with 11 minutes remaining, removing targetman Denton and throwing on Shaq McKenzie.

Stamford spent a great deal of the second half lingering over stoppages, seemingly looking to play out time, but when they did look to be positive they almost grabbed a third, Challinor setting Robbins in and only a diving Flynn denied him.

And then at the other end, a mistake at the back saw Mettam with the ball at his feet and the goal gaping, Lynch fouling the striker and conceding a penalty.

The red card came out for the keeper, and Mettam had to wait to take the spot-kick, as substitute Aaron Kennedy was made to take his earrings off.

But Mettam stayed cool, found the bottom corner and brought his side level.

Following the equaliser, Worksop piled forward in search of a winner, with three corners in quick succession but a scramble in the penalty area was the closest they came.

Only five extra minutes were added on by the referee, before he brought a halt to the game, Tigers leaving with a not-altogether deserved, but welcome point.

Stamford AFC: Lynch, Blakely, Haines, Challinor, Jones, Walker, Robinson, Lawlor (Richardson 61), Smith, Richards (Kennedy 90), Robbins. Not used: Wesley, Burgess, Green.

Worksop Town: Flynn 5, LEMON 6, Roe 6 (Pursehouse 18), Davies 4, Gaughan 5, Miller 5, Muldoon 5, Clarke 4, Denton 5 (McKenzie 79), Mettam 5, Higginson 4 (Cottingham 46 5). Not used: Salt, Mullen.

Referee: Mr Nicholas Hopton.

Assistants: Mr Thomas Fell, Mr Aidan Coleman.

Goalscorers: Smith 4, Blakely 34; Cottingham 56, Mettam 90 (pen)

Yellows: Challinor 42, Walker 71, Blakely 81; Mettam 33, Lemon 65

Reds: Lynch 89.