Froggatt hat trick earns bragging rights
An excellent Ambers display saw off rivals Worksop Town in the last Sandy Lane derby of the season ....
Anyone from outside the area could be excused for thinking that the third Sandy Lane derby of the season would be a typical end of season ‘dead rubber’, but local pride was at stake as The Ambers, guaranteed a second placed finish, lined up for their last home game against fourth placed Worksop Town, with The Tigers looking to avenge their two defeats at the hands of their landlords this season.
With Archie Sneath still absent, newly confirmed permanent Manager Mick Godber chose to give Under 18’s keeper Jake Lancini his debut, no pressure there then! The Ambers made their customary strong start as a first minute Danny Buttle cross found Colin Marrison at the far post. The header down to Jon Froggatt was just smuggled away by a Tigers defender as the front man closed in. Simon Harrison was next to show as he raced forward from right back and the Worksop back four had to be on their toes to clear the danger.
Skipper Higginson had the visitors first sight of goal after 13 minutes but his shot sailed wide, then Johnson sprung the offside trap to race through, but as Lancini came to meet him, he fired wide of the far post. Having escaped, The Ambers then wrestled control back in the centre of the park with Steve Warne beginning to dictate proceedings, ably assisted by Tom Claisse who fired a long range shot off target. An underhit back pass by Gorman had keeper Kennedy in trouble but he managed to clear just before Kieran Wells benefitted, although he went down injured immediately afterwards after aggravating an old injury.
With an incapacitated keeper, it did only seem a matter of time before The Ambers took advantage, and sure enough, when the impressive Connor Smythe combined with Buttle on the left, the wingers deep cross found Froggatt who headed home to bring him level with Wells on 37 goals each. A Warne cross was then headed off the line as The Ambers looked to double their lead but there was another let off on the stroke of half time when Johnson shot from close range but Lancini saved well at his near post.
With no sub keeper on the bench, it looked like it would be a difficult second half for Kennedy and he was soon in action, dealing capably with a clever back header from Wells, before kicking his clearance straight to Froggatt who controlled the ball and smashed it home from all of 30 yards. The injured Marrison then gave way to Alex Rippon, but it was the visitors next to show as Johnson almost capitalised on a defensive mix up, but once again failed to trouble the young keeper.
Harrison then had a long range effort comfortably held by Kennedy, before Warne won the ball in the centre of the pitch and played forward to Froggatt who spread the ball wide to Buttle. The winger took the ball on and unleashed a rocket from 20 yards that flew into the Worksop net to make it 3-0. Two minutes later, Smythe almost got in on the act as his terrific shot came back off the bar, but almost immediately, Warne raced down the left wing to the dead ball line and cut the ball back for Wells to slot home the fourth.
The Ambers were rampant now and The Tigers had no answer as the hosts flowing football was as good as we’ve seen this season. The inevitable fifth goal came after 64 minutes when Froggatt claimed his third hat trick of the season, heading home from another precise Buttle cross.
Luke Fletcher and Tyler Bates were brought on and The Ambers continued to hunt for a sixth goal but Kennedy saved well from a Buttle header, and two close range efforts by Rippon were also rebuffed as The Tigers held on.
So, the home campaign ended in fine style and with a record of 14 wins, 4 draws and 3 defeats, yielding 65 goals, incredibly 23 of those in the last 4 matches, whilst conceding just 1 in that time.