WORKSOP Town staged a magnificent second half recovery at Conference North high flyers Chester on Saturday, to earn a replay and keep their FA Trophy dreams alive.
Second half goals from Leon Mettam and Ash Burbeary cancelled out a first half brace from former Tiger Nathan Jarman, the 2-2 final score making a replay on Wednesday at Sandy Lane a reality.
Following recent poor performances Stuart Ludlam was dropped to the subs bench by Simon Clark, and replacing him at left back was Owain Warlow.
Craig King switched to the left flank and Lee Beeson started on the right, while Burbeary replaced the ineligible Tom Denton.
Tigers were the first on the attack; Mettam’s header from Ryan Clarke’s cross forcing a good save from John Danby who was unaware the offside flag was raised.
This only served as a wakeup call for the home side as they soon started to dominate the game.
Paul Bastock had to be alert to deny Iain Howard after Marc Williams capitalised on an error by Kern Miller.
On five minutes Chester were ahead when Jarman rose unchallenged to head home from Levi Mackin’s cross from the right.
Ten minutes later it was 2-0 as Antoni Sarcevic’s through ball found Jarman who provided a sublime finish, clipping the ball over the advancing Bastock.
King, Warlow and Mettam combined well to set up Steve Towers whose shot flew just wide in a rare Tigers attack.
Dave Hankin was next to show for Chester, shooting straight at Bastock.
Jarman and Williams combined to set up Howard, but Bastock was quick off his line to deny the winger.
Bastock was in action again stopping Hankin, who was set up by a flowing move from involving Howard, Sarcevic and Mackin.
On the stroke of half-time Jarman almost got his hat-trick as he collected Danby’s long ball out of defence before turning and crashing a shot onto the woodwork from the edge of the penalty area.
Tigers were immediately on the attack at the start of the second half, Mettam firing just wide.
Adie Hawes was the next to go close, heading over from a Lee Beeson corner.
On 53 minutes Tigers were back in it.
A poor back pass made life difficult for Danby who was pressured into making a mistake by Mettam, who calmly collected the ball and stroked it home into the empty net.
Worksop were now very much in the ascendancy as the home side struggled to cope with the pace of the visitors’ attack.
As Tigers continued to exert pressure Mettam saw his goal-bound shot blocked.
Burbeary and Mettam then combined to set up Beeson who saw his shot comfortably saved by Danby.
In a rare second half attack for the home side Williams headed over Sean Clancy’s corner.
With 12 minutes remaining Tigers got the equaliser their second half display deserved.
Clarke’s excellent cross was met first time by Burbeary to fire home into the roof of the net from 12 yards out giving Danby no chance.
Sarcevic nearly put the home side ahead again as his shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
However, it was Tigers who looked the more likely of the two sides to conjure up a winner in the dying minutes as they forced a series of corners.
The best chance fell to Warlow who blazed over from 18 yards out when well-placed, after good work from Clarke and Burbeary.
Chester FC: Danby, Mackin, Clancy, Linwood, Collins, Williams, Hankin, Sarcevic, Jarman (Gray 82), Williams, Howard (Curran 59). Unused: Fearon, Horan, Miller.
Goals: Nathan Jarman (5, 15).
Booked: Dom Collins (90).
Worksop Town: Bastock, Clarke, Warlow, Young, Miller, Hawes, Beeson (Ludlam 74), Towers, Burbeary (Menga 88), Mettam (Shiels 83), King. Unused subs: Wood, Telling.
Goals: Mettam (53), Burbeary (78).
Referee: I Hussin. Assistants: M Corlett, A Jackson.
Man of the Match: Ryan Clarke.