Tigers Roar Past Spartans

Back during the 1997-98 season, Worksop Town’s FA Cup run came to a sticky end in the Third Qualifying Round when they lost 4-0 at Croft Park, the home of Blyth Spartans.

Fast forward a little over quart-of-a-century, and the new-look Tigers, well-guided by manager Craig Parry, exacted revenge, but at the second time of asking, when at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium this past Tuesday (3 October) night.

Having battled to a 1-1 draw in Northumberland on the Saturday before, Liam Hughes’ early, second half effort cancelled out by JJ O’Connell, the replay was to be a much different story, very much so.

Parry made two changes to the side that drew a couple of days earlier, Sam Wedgbury and Aleks Starcenko starting ahead of Paul Green and Luke Hall, they coming on as late substitutes and, like the previous encounter, the sides went in goalless at the break.

There’s something about the Tigers side though; following last season’s unbeaten, Northern Premier League East title-winning season, they’ve took a little adapting this time around, but they aren’t half making real fist of things.

In this season’s FA Cup they dismissed NPL East side, Sheffield, comfortably (4-1), back in early September, before seeing off United Counties League Premier North side, Lincoln United (3-0); then came Blyth, cup giant-killers in their own right.

The National League North side battled for the replay, but were undone in a dominant, swash-buckling second half display, that could have easily have been more but for a disallowed effort late on.

Liam Hughes, the scourge of many defences in recent times, rifled home his fourth, fifth, and sixth goals in this season’s FA Cup, the hat-trick being completed with a penalty eight minutes from time, whilst Aleks Starcenko helped himself to a brace as the hosts ran out comfortable, 5-0 winners.

Worksop Town – Paul Cooper, Deegan Atherton, Josh Wilde, Sam Wedgebury (Paul Green, 83), Hamza Bencherif, George Taft, Terry Hawkridge, Aleks Starcenko, Vaughan Redford (Rostik Yaremenko, 83), Liam Hughes, Jay Rollins (Luke Hall, 71)

Next up for the Tigers in the FA Cup, as they look to reach the First Round Proper for the first time since the 1978-79 season (where they lost to Barnsley), is the visit of another, National League North side, Boston United, on Saturday 14 October.

Looking ahead to the upcoming clash with Boston, Tigers boss, Craig Parry, told TigersTV after the game: “We’ve got another National League North side that are an extremely strong, hybrid model, so they’ll be extremely fit, extremely organised.

“It’s going to be tough but we’re playing here (Windsor Foodservice Stadium), fortress, the fans behind us that are magnificent and who can hopefully be our 12th player and put on a performance like today (Tuesday night).

“We’re not scared of anyone and it doesn’t matter what level they are, we’re going to come and take the game to them and we’ll do exactly the same with Boston.”

Last season would see Parry’s side reach the Fourth Qualifying Round (first time since 2004-05), but the clubs’ past, it does have a history with the world famous competition, they having reached the First Round on some six occasions, the Second Round once, and, in the 1955-56, even made it to the Third Round.

In those ‘proper’ rounds of the competition the Tigers have faced the likes of Chelsea (1907-08) and Tottenham Hotspur (1922-23), Chesterfield (1925-26) and Swindon Town (1955-56), to name a few, and they’ll be hoping this time around, they can make a name for themselves again.

Continuing about the upcoming, Fourth Qualifying Round tie, Parry added: “It’s a game we can now look forward to and obviously, I’ve made it no secret that myself, the club, the management team, the players, we want to get to this First Round.

“We feel that, as a group that it’ll be an achievement ticked off for us all, collectively as a group.

“We’re very close-knit and I want it for them, I want the occasion more for them than I do myself and we’re one game away now.

“It’s kind of our cup final, we’re well prepared, extremely well prepared, we’ll do our research, and we’ll take the game to Boston and see what the outcome is.”

Watch the full, post-match interview with the Tigers boss, here.

Worksop Town’s FA Cup run (2023-24 season)

2 September (H) Worksop Town 4 Sheffield FC 1 (1QR)

Vaughan Redford (2), Jay Rollins, Terry Hawkridge

16 September (A) Lincoln United 0 Workskop Town 3 (2QR)

Liam Hughes (2), Jay Rollins

30 September (A) Blyth Spartans 1 Worksop Town 1 (3QR)

Liam Hughes

3 October (H) Worksop Town 5 Blyth Spartans 0 (3QR Replay)

Liam Hughes (3, 1 pen), Aleks Starcenko (2)

14 October (H) Worksop Town vs. Boston United (4QR)   

Prior to their FA Cup clash at home to Boston United, Craig Parry’s Worksop Town have the small matter of an FA Trophy fixture to overcome first, they hosting Stocksbridge Park Steels in the Third Qualifying Round.

Keep up-to-date with all the goings on with the Tigers via their socials on Facebook here and Twitter here and via their website here.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc another point on the road for the Stags.

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