TIGERS rescued a point with a last gasp injury time equaliser today, in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Stafford Rangers.
Worksop Town maintained their unbeaten record under manager Simon Clark, as half-time substitute Marc Roberts scored twice to delight the travelling supporters.
A cagey first five minutes had little in the way of cohesive action, the only highlight a loud and unsuccessful appeal from Liam Shotton for a foul on the edge of the box as he tried to turn Luke Shiels.
The first attempt on goal came after a sweeping counter attack by Worksop. Massiah McDonald fed Ashley Burbeary, he swung in a cross and Owain Warlow headed over the bar.
Matt Young curled a low shot at goal from just outside the box but it was easy for keeper Sam Johnson, as Worksop began to look dangerous.
The referee flashed the yellow card to both Steve Gardner and Peter Heler on 13 minutes, after the Tigers’ full-back appeared to aim a kick at the Rangers man.
A mistake on the left from the hosts allowed Warlow to get in behind the defence, and when his cross was only cleared as far as McDonald his first time volley was straight at Johnson.
Seconds later the stopper was in action again, palming Burbeary’s blast over the bar for a corner.
Mark Hudson looked to repeat his free-kick heroics of midweek when he lined one up 25 yards out but it was an easy save for Johnson.
With 24 minutes gone the home side were incensed by the referee John Mayhew’s decision not to award a penalty when Alan Nagington rounded Jon Worsnop and the stopper brought him down.
Their anger increased when Shotton was booked for a foul on Gardner shortly after.
Jamie Jackson’s pace caught the Rangers central defensive pairing napping and he almost nipped in to take the ball from them, but had to settle for a corner.
McDonald chased down a long ball and ran into Johnson to earn the game’s fourth yellow.
The striker conceded another free-kick, level with his own six yard box and Jon Sheldon’s dangerous set-piece was missed by Worsnop and cleared off the line by Shiels.
The best chance of the first half for the hosts, and their first shot on goal, was fired wide by Heler after turning Gardner in the box.
The half ended with with a scrappy couple of minutes with Cotterill going down after jarring his ankle in a tackle with Heler, then fouling Shotton and leaving the striker in a heap.
Neither Cotterill nor Shiels came back out for the second half and their places in the centre of defence were taken by Roberts and Michael Jacklin.
Stafford bossed the opening minutes of the half without troubling Worsnop, while Tigers had a low Burbeary shot to show for their efforts, Johnson saving easily.
From another Burbeary attack, Worksop took the lead.
The winger won a free-kick on the right, Sheldon was booked for his challenge and Warlow then slid the ball to Hudson who dinked it into the area and when it fell to Roberts the replacement volleyed home.
Two minutes later Rangers were handed a lifeline.
Worsnop brought down Shotton who ghosted through the defence, the keeper was yellow carded and a penalty awarded.
Sheldon stepped up but Worsnop made amends with a full length save to his left.
Tigers, buoyed by the save, almost made it 2-0 when a cross from the left was nodded just wide by Warlow.
A ball into the visiting box saw Worsnop come out to try and punch clear, but he only made contact with Roberts and both needed treatment.
The defender, bloodied, took some time to return to the fray, but did so with a fresh shirt.
Never far from the action, Roberts should have got his second when the ball was headed across to him a few yards out from goal and he somehow headed over.
A ball over the top foxed the Worksop defence and Nagington tried to lift it over Worsnop, who was hesitant before charging out, but the ball came off his chest and Tigers breathed again.
With just seven minutes left Wood took out Shotton on the left and became the game’s ninth booking.
Substitute Sean Kinsella then pinged in a brilliant ball from the free-kick and Glyn Blackhurst was there at the back post to nod down into the net and level the game.
With their tails up, Rangers looked hungry for another, and seconds into injury time they went ahead in spectacular style.
Roberts bundled Sheldon off the ball 20 yards out, Kinsella set himself and curled a beauty of a free-kick into the top corner giving Worsnop no chance.
But back came the visitors.
Four minutes after the 90 had elapsed, McDonald was cynically taken out just outside the area on the right.
Karl Espley was shown a yellow for his challenge, and Warlow then crossed to the back post where (who else?) Roberts got up to nod home a dramatic equaliser.