IF recent games were a chance for Worksop Town to show their attacking flair, Saturday’s trip to AFC Fylde presented an opportunity to showcase their characater and determination.
A 90th minute header from prolific front man Tom Denton, his second of the game and 11th of the season for Tigers, rescued a point for the visitors and a 2-2 draw.
Undoubtedly still weary from two exhausting games against Chester in the FA Trophy, Worksop put on a more reserved display and truth be told came under intense pressure against the best side they’ve faced in this campaign.
But they just don’t like losing, especially away from home – this was their ninth positive result in 10 games on the road.
The calibre of the opposition made the outcome all the more satisfying, as AFC Fylde employed their two dangerous wingers to very good use throughout the game, only the lack of a finish and some stout defending foiling their intentions.
The hosts should have taken the lead when one of those wingers, Michael Barnes, clipped a lovely ball into the area and the other wide man Richie Allen ghosted in behind the Worksop defence but shot wide.
It wasn’t until the 10th minute that Tigers put together a fluid attack, Steve Towers, Craig King and Ryan Clarke all involved before Leon Mettam saw two shots blocked.
At the other end it was far too easy for Michael Barnes to get by Stuart Ludlam onto a long ball and his dangerous cross rolled to safety.
And seconds later a cross to the back post saw the AFC Fylde winger steal in ahead of Ludlam again, but somehow Paul Bastock kept out his header.
A better few minutes for the visitors saw Mettam almost get on the end of Tom Denton’s flick, then the little striker spooned a volley over the bar while struggling with a knock.
On 20 minutes Allen should have done better again on the left but blazed high and wide.
Ash Burbeary’s persistence after conceding possession saw him win it back and set King free, the youngster pulling the ball back to Matt Young and his shot was tame and saved.
The ball was in the net on 28 minutes as Allen dispossessed Bastock, but his challenge was deemed a foul by referee Mark Duncum and Tigers were disappointed not to see a yellow card.
King then frustrated Allen further with a fantastic block at the back post when a corner sailed all the way through the area.
On 37 minutes Ludlam was beaten at the back post twice, the second time resulting in a shot from Allen that was only just deflected wide.
Very much against the run of play, Worksop went ahead.
A quick passing move on 40 minutes unlocked the home defence, King steered Clarke into space and the full-back delivered a perfect cross for Denton to volley high into the net.
Denton was denied his 11th goal of the season on the stroke of half-time when the ball fell to him on the right side of the box and his sidefoot shot was palmed away by Ben Hinchliffe.
Worksop started the second half very brightly, putting together their best spell.
Young’s cross just missed the head of Denton and Burbeary shot low at the back post, Hinchliffe saving with his feet.
The resulting corner was cleared only as far as Young and his drive was palmed over acrobatically by the home keeper.
Another great corner from Towers was headed down by Denton and cleared off the line.
On 51 minutes King skinned his marker yet again and his cross was deflected over his own bar by Matt Hughes.
From that minute on, it was almost exclusively the AFC Fylde show.
Bastock was at his best to deny the home side twice in quick succession, but could do nothing as the impressive Michael Barnes floated the ball into the far corner of the net on 57.
Ludlam losing possession on the right set Barnes on his way again, and Adam Sumner stung the hands of Bastock.
Worksop still looked dangerous on the break, Clarke steaming down his flank and sending in a beautiful cross that no one could touch into the net.
There was a debut for Lee Ridley, on loan from Gainsborough Trinity, with 22 minutes remaining, the left-back taking the place of Ludlam.
Almost immediately the substitute found himself caught between a header and a knee and the hosts went streaking through on the break, Michael Barnes putting Allen in the clear and he shot just wide as Bastock came out to pressure.
Lee Beeson, who had replaced Mettam sent a free-kick curling into the box and almsot caught Hinchliffe out at his far post, the ball bouncing inches past the upright.
Luke Shiels came on for Burbeary with 11 minutes left, Worksop looking to stem the tide of Fylde attacks.
But when Clarke went down claiming what looked like a stonewall free-kick, play went on and Allen got in down the left, his ball into the middle was knocked home by Adam Farrell for what looked like a winner.
The home supporters certainly all felt that their men had done enough for a deserved three points, but it wasn’t to be.
In the 90th minute a perfect free-kick from Beeson was nodded past the keeper by Denton, Worksop had a dramatic equaliser and moved up into sixth in the Northern Premier League table.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Haslam, Sumner, Hughes, Taylor, B. Barnes, Booth, Winter, Farrell, M. Barnes, Allen. Not used: Dean, Steel, Dorney, McCarthy, Kusaloka.
Worksop: Bastock 7, Clarke 6, Ludlam 5 (Ridley 68), Young 6, Miller 6, Hawes 6, KING 8, Towers 6, Denton 7, Mettam 5 (Beeson 56), Burbeary 6 (Shiels 79). Not used: Telling, Menga.
Referee: Mark Duncum.
Assistants: Darren Rogers, James Morgan.
Goalscorers: Barnes 57, Farrell 86; Denton 40, 90.
Yellows: Beeson 87.