Stoppage time winner ends a nine-goal thriller

Worksop Town often tread a fine line between sublime and ridiculous, but in this nine-goal thriller the line disappeared altogether.

Tigers should have been out of sight going into the latter stages, when they let slip a 3-1 lead, lost a defender and eventually won 5-4 in stoppage time.

Most in the ground, players included, were shaking their heads in disbelief at the final whistle.

There were missed chances a plenty at both ends, a red card for Alex Pursehouse and a late Steels penalty.

The hosts forged the first chance, Liam Royles crossing and Nathan Joynes getting away from Laurence Gaughan only to head wide.

Tom Denton showed the home striker how to do it on six minutes, thumping home a header from Phil Roe’s inch perfect free-kick.

That combination would prove crucial later on.

Leon Mettam looked to scamper clear of the Steels defence as Josh Davies played a lovely through ball, former Tiger Matt Telling getting back to challenge.

Worksop were two to the good on the quarter hour mark, Denton laying the ball off to Conor Higginson who saw his shot saved, before Jack Muldoon stole in to score.

Royles and Joynes linked up again for Steels, and this time the striker headed over.

A lightning quick break had Stocksbridge stretched, Mettam playing in Muldoon down the right, and when he laid it back to Mettam, he lost out to keeper Ben Scott.

Steelers were back in it on 33 minutes, Ben Turner’s cross from the left allowing Brett Bowden-Lovell to get up ahead of Gathercole and head home.

Mettam then had a chance to double Worksop’s lead, nipping in to take a long ball, controlling but shooting tamely.

With seven minutes left in the half he did better with Muldoon’s cross, tucking it home following good work by Alex Pursehouse,.

The home side tried to replicate their first goal with a similar move in the opening two minutes of the second half, a ball swung in from the left reaching Bowden-Lovell, Gathercole saving well.

Joynes had a third headed chance, 12 minutes after the break, and this one was the closest yet, but still wide.

A howler of a mistake by Telling gifted Mettam the ball, with only Scott to beat, and the man between the sticks came out on top yet again,.

Mettam did have the ball in the net for a second time, but he was judged offside.

Joynes was wasteful again from six yards, sidefooting wide, and then substitute Andy Ring crossed for Bowden-Lovell and Gathercole clawed his header off the line.

Steels weren’t to be denied going into the final 10 minutes, Stephen Hoyle beating Shane Clarke in the area and roofing the ball past Gathercole.

Then it all went a bit crazy.

Ring went past Pursehouse and was brought down, earning a penalty and a red card for the defender.

Danny South scored from the spot-kick, and the game was heading for a draw.

Worksop thought they had it won in the 89th minute, when replacement Shaq McKenzie fired in a shot, Scott failed to hold it and Mettam was there to slam the ball into the net.

The action wasn’t over by a long shot however.

Steels won a corner in the second minute of added time and South rose highest to head home an equaliser.

But a free-kick to Worksop saw Roe find the head of Denton, like he did for the opener, and the big man stooped to nod in off the post and win it.

Stocksbridge: Scott, Haigh (Bettney 79), Turner, Knowles (A. Denton 58), South, Telling, Royles, Bowden-Lovell, Joynes (Ring 72), Hoyle. Not used: Akeister, Ward.

Worksop: Gathercole 6, Pursehouse 6, ROE 7, Davies 5, Salt 5, Gaughan 6, Muldoon 6 (McKenzie 76), Clarke 5, T. Denton 6, Mettam 6 (Liburd 90), Higginson 6 (Adams 82). Not used: Barnett, Cottingham.

Referee: D. Street. Assistants: A. Bannister, M. Findlay.

Goalscorers: Bowden-Lovell 33, Hoyle 81, South 84 (pen), 90; Denton 6, Muldoon 15, Mettam 38, Denton 90

Yellows: Knowles 51, Bowden-Lovell 64, South 69; Mettam 34, Salt 45.

Red: Pursehouse 83.

Attendance: 131.