Kendal Town 3
Worksop Town 4
Evo-Stik Premier Division
KENDAL Town were edged out by fifth-placed Worksop Town in a thrilling encounter which included seven goals, three penalties and two red cards at Parkside Road.
In an end-to-end affair, Kendal Town were the first to strike in the 20th minute. Callum Hoctor played a beautiful cross into the box which Maison McGeechan failed to reach despite his Diego Maradona-style attempt at scoring with his hand. But Worksop goalkeeper Paul Bastock also missed the ball, so from a tight angle the impressive Zach Clark squared the ball back into the area and Mike Rushton tucked his effort into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Captain Kevin Brown showed superb strength to thwart a Worksop attempt at equalising just after the goal, but in the 27th minute, Worksop levelled from the penalty spot. Adam Freeland handballed inside the box, and Lee Potts smashed the ball down the centre of the goal, affording no opportunity to Craig Dootson, who was recalled from his loan to Buxton and went straight into the side after a groin injury to Ryan Robinson.
Only three minutes had passed though when the Black and Whites reclaimed the lead. Hoctor once again on the left was played a good ball by the effervescent McGeechan, and the winger found full back Dean Overson in acres of space on the right hand side just inside the box. Overson rifled his shot beyond Bastock at his near post to put Kendal back in front in style.
Worksop were clearly feeling the strain imposed by the Mintcakes, so much so that striker Leon Mettam was substituted off just after the goal. Mettam had an angry exchange with his manager on the touchline as emotions were running high among players and staff in the away team dugout.
Proceedings took a much worse turn for the away side when their captain Stuart Ludlam was harshly given a straight red card three minutes before half time for using foul and abusive language, allegedly towards the linesman, in an incident where a yellow card would have seemed a lot fairer.
But in the 48th minute, the match turned into a 10-a-side affair when Freeland was shown a second yellow card for exactly the same offence as he committed in the first half. He handballed in the box once again, and Potts rifled the ball into the top corner from the penalty spot to make it 2-2.
The two sendings-off meant that both sides had lots of space to work with, and Clark came into his own for Kendal as he repeatedly attacked from the right-hand-side. One such move in the 54th minute failed to come to fruition after he shot straight at Bastock, but a poor kick from the keeper went straight to Clark, who took a couple of touches and fired a shot from the edge of the box that was well blocked by Kern Miller.
Worksop’s enormous striker Tom Denton was proving a handful for Kendal’s centre backs and with the extra space, Kendal’s left hand side was exposed as full back Ryan Clark marauded forward for the away side on several occasions.
But it was Kendal who took the lead for the third time after a melee in the box resulted in Miller being booked for handball. Firstly substitute Simon Rawnsley was up-ended by Phil Roe, who was booked for the challenge later, but the referee played advantage because from the resulting cross by Clark, a header by Martin Grundy struck a clutch of bodies in the box despite him having the entire goal to aim for. The ball fell to Jack Cook, who hit the post with his effort, but referee Paul Brown called play back to a previous instant of handball and awarded the home side a penalty. Up stepped McGeechan, who squeezed the ball past Bastock’s despairing fingertips as Kendal went 3-2 up with 17 minutes to play.
It should have been time for Kendal to ‘park the bus’ and get men behind the ball, but in the 78th minute Worksop took advantage of the Black and Whites’ exposed left flank as Clark went on another run, easily riding the sliding challenge of substitute Tom Williams. He played a beautiful cross into the box right onto Denton’s head, whose effort looped over Dootson, giving him no chance, and the striker restored parity yet again for the away side.
Worksop should have had the game’s fourth penalty when Brown seemed to pull Nathan Modest back after both players were on the ground in the box following a great tackle by the Kendal skipper, but the referee waved Worksop’s appeals away in the 81st minute.
However, with just six minutes remaining, Worksop took the lead for the first time in the game when referee Brown played an excellent advantage after Modest was fouled on the edge of the area. Denton curled a lovely low shot into the corner of the net to the delight of the away supporters, and Kendal were left to rue an opportunity to move away from the relegation zone missed.
Craig Dootson, Dean Overson, James Short, Jack Cook, Kevin Brown (c), Adam Freeland, Martin Grundy, Zach Clark, Mike Rushton, Maison McGeechan, Callum Hoctor
Substitutes: Tom Williams for Short (56), Simon Rawnsley for Rushton (67), Aaron Helliwell for Grundy (86)
Subs not used: Danny Maghan, Dan Ferguson
Yellow cards: Adam Freeland, Dean Overson, Aaron Helliwell
Red cards: Adam Freeland
Paul Bastock, Ryan Clark, Phil Roe, Martin Ball, Stuart Ludlam (c), Kern Miller, Craig King, Steve Towers (Bradley Kilburn 66), Tom Denton, Leon Mettam (Nathan Modest 32), Lee Potts (Matt Young 66).
Subs not used: Lee Ridley, Sam Jepson.
Yellow cards: Steve Towers, Kern Miller, Phil Roe, Bradley Kilburn
Red cards: Stuart Ludlam
Key man: Zach Clark - Posed a massive threat to Worksop Town on the right hand side and showed fantastic work rate to keep his team going.