WORKSOP Town’s 2011/12 league campaign came to a close with a creditable 0-0 draw at play-off qualifiers Hednesford Town.
Tigers saved one of their best performances of the past few months for the trip to Keys Park, and although the game was by no means a classic, they probably shaded the chances.
Simon Clark’s side could have picked up their second win of the season over Hednesford, who ended the game with 10 men, had the officials interpreted differently two incidents in the hosts’ box, but neither brought penalties.
After a tentative opening, played mostly in the Worksop half, Tigers broke out on 15 minutes and Chris Wood’s deep cross to the back post was knocked away from Ashley Burbeary by a defender, with more than a suspicion of handball.
The move swung momentum in Worksop’s favour and they bossed the next few minutes, Lee Beeson winning a free-kick on the right that Owain Warlow crossed and although it was half cleared, Matt Young had the game’s first shot at goal – Dan Crane saving easily.
This seemed to spark the hosts to life, Chris Clements giving Wood a torrid time before shooting high and wide.
Burbeary’s aggressive run down the left allowed him to slip Warlow into the box but the Welshman couldn’t find Young.
A corner to Hednesford wasn’t fully cleared by the Worksop defence and Cheyenne Dunkley drove the ball wide from distance.
As the rain fell heavily, Massiah McDonald held the ball up well before playing in Young, and his cross to the near post was steered wide by Jamie Jackson.
McDonald was in the action a minute later, turning well on the edge of the box to shoot low and force a good save from Crane who just about managed to turn the ball round the post.
From the resulting corner Hednesford almost contrived to put the ball in their own net, needing to clear off the line.
After a relatively even period of play a ball round the corner released Jackson who tried to beat Jermaine Johnson in the box and then went down under the defender’s challenge, but the referee deemed it fair.
The first real attack of the second half took nearly 10 minutes to arrive, and it was Hednesford who put it together, winning a corner on the right and forcing a brilliant tackle from Steve Melton to stop a shooting opportunity.
Mario Ziccardi had to be alert to punch the ball away at his near post from Jamey Osborne’s drive, and the hosts wasted the subsequent corner.
Melton lost out in the middle of the park and handed possession to the hosts who streaked away and half-time replacement Nick Wellecomme wasn’t far wide with his low shot.
Worksop’s first chance of the half came on 65 minutes, McDonald’s low shot troubling Crane who couldn’t hold and Hednesford were forced to concede a corner to deny Jackson.
The yellow card came out for the first time with 20 minutes remaining, Johnson tripping Jackson who had gone past him 25 yards out and falling foul of the referee.
Warlow took the free-kick and curled it well over the bar.
The left-back was then cautioned for his late challenge on Osborne two minutes later.
Burbeary’s season came to an end with 16 left as Craig King took his place, and the substitute then won the ball to start an attack that ended in a low shot by another replacement, Luke Sharry. Crane was equal to it however.
Under 19 star Alex Nightingale then got five minutes of action, taking Beeson’s place on the right.
Three minutes remained on the clock when King sent Jackson through on goal and Johnson had to bring the striker down again, earning a second yellow and subsequent red.
Tigers were unable to make their advantage count in the final stages and the hosts celebrated their place in the play-offs, while Worksop brought to an end a frustrating and disappointing campaign.
Hednesford: Crane, Haynes, Shaw, Dunkley, Johnson, Denny, Osborne, Clements, Beesley (Landell 76), Jevons (Wellecomme 45), Campion. Not used: Blakeman, Ordish, Bailey.
Worksop Town: Ziccardi 7, Wood 7, Warlow 7, Young 7, MILLER 8, Cotterill 7, Beeson 6 (Nightingale 85), Melton 6 (Sharry 69), McDonald 7, Jackson 7, Burbeary 7 (King 74). Not used: Taylor, Cuff.
Referee: R. Ellis. Assistants: B. Cooke, R. Dadley.
Yellows: Johnson 70; Warlow 72; McDonald 90.