Worksop Town 3 Shepshed Dynamo 3
Shepshed Dynamo mount magical fightback in frenetic FA Cup thriller.
On Saturday afternoon, Shepshed Dynamo produced a Herculean effort to peg back Worksop Town thrice in what was a magnificent advert for non-league football at Sandy Lane.
In a compelling spectacle that saw a red card issued and two penalties awarded, Dynamo responded brilliantly after being reduced to ten men when striker Ryan Robbins was sent off in the 40th minute with his team trailing 2-1.
Many a side would have imploded in such circumstances - but Damion Beckford-Quailey’s men emerge from this FA Cup extra preliminary round tie with much credit after second-half goals from Matt Melbourne and Niall Prenderville secured an improbable replay.
There were a few alterations to the side that succumbed to a narrow home defeat by Ilkeston Town in midweek. Jake Davies replaced Pearson Mwanyongo, while Celson Patrocinio and Ryan Foster were named as substitutes.
Notwithstanding those changes, Shepshed got off to the worst possible start - with a simple long ball their undoing.
In only the fourth minute, Worksop striker Kyle Jordan seized upon a flick-on, surged toward goal, and smashed home a venomous volley that left Dynamo shot-stopper Brandon Ganley with no chance.
And the hosts continued to exert attacking pressure - their direct play causing Dynamo plenty of problems - and both Ganley and defender Jake Betts had to scramble clear threatening crosses shortly thereafter.
Despite their shaky start, Shepshed were soon handed a gilt-edged chance to draw level against the run of play.
In the 12th minute, Robbins drew a foul in the box from Worksop’s Steve Wankiewicz, leaving the referee with no choice but to caution the latter and award Dynamo a spot-kick.
Karl Whymark assumed the responsibility, as he did with great aplomb in midweek, only to be denied by Town goalkeeper Matt Reay, who dived low and parried his feeble effort clear.
But Shepshed would not be denied their equaliser - and what an equaliser it was.
Whymark atoned for his earlier miss with a consummate piece of finesse by blasting home a splendid strike that swerved in the air before nestling in the bottom left corner.
The opening quarter of an hour proved an indication of what was to come, as the tie evolved into a ding-dong battle chock-full of twists and turns.
The celebrations that greeted Whymark’s howitzer had barely subsided when Betts brought down Jordan to concede the game’s second penalty, which the in-form striker converted with 19 minutes played.
Having regained the lead, the Tigers were again on top and the visitors were forced to repel several attacks. Connor Brunt’s rasping drive - one that whizzed just past the post - after a quick exchange of passes was but one example of the ascendancy the hosts were enjoying.
Shepshed had a brief respite when Betts rifled home after Reay fumbled a Whymark delivery from the right - only for the goal to be disallowed for a suspected offside. And they were soon thanking goalkeeper Ganley after he somehow parried away Wankiewicz’s thumping header from a floated left-wing cross.
Matters worsened for the visitors when Robbins, who had already been cautioned for dissent, was shown a straight red card on the stroke of the interval after appearing to kick out at an opponent.
It’s fair to say that Dynamo were perhaps relieved to hear the half-time whistle after Reay saved well from Liam Hurst and the home side’s Craig Mitchell rattled the crossbar.
The interval, one felt, came at an good time, and allowed them the chance to regroup ahead of a tricky second period with a man fewer than their opponents - and with good reason.
Shepshed flew out of the traps with substitute Patrocinio heavily involved in several enterprising forays into the Worksop half; he and Melbourne were denied by resilient defending after a succession of crosses during the early flickers of the half.
A concerted spell of Dynamo pressure was intercut only with a timid effort by Kyle, which Ganley saved with ease, as Melbourne met Liam Hurst’s laser-guided cross with a fierce header only to be denied by a flying save from Reay.
The visitors refused to relent as they pursued an equaliser - and they got their just desserts on the hour mark.
After racing onto an excellent through ball from midfield, Melbourne displayed great perseverance as he recovered quickly from a strong tackle before rounding Reay and slotting home to restore parity.
But Dynamo’s parity again proved ephemeral, and they were pegged back once more just eight minutes later.
After Ganley failed to claim Steve Woolley’s corner, Brunt volleyed the ball into the ground and up into the top corner. Shepshed’s FA Cup hopes were dissipating right before their eyes - but that goal would not prove to be the game’s last.
Instead, the seemingly interminable drama continued; four minutes later, and Dynamo had equalised for the third time.
After excellent work by Chris Acott, Celson Patrocinio and Matt Melbourne on the left, the dependable Niall Prenderville let fly from 25 yards and sent a sumptuous strike screaming past Reay to score the goal of the match.
This contest was a wonderful advert for non-league football, with Shepshed performing admirably in the face of adversity, and it so easily could have had a victor when Alcott burst down the left and crossed superbly for Hurst, who could only lash over the bar from just yards out as the game neared its end.
There was to be one final scare for Worksop when visiting substitute Courtney Meade forced an error at the back, but the striker hurried himself and curled his effort wide.
All eyes will now be cast upon Tuesday night’s replay at The Dovecote, and after a strong showing in the second period, Dynamo may well be quietly confident of progressing into the next round.
Dynamo: Ganley, Day, Betts, Wells, Whymark, Prenderville, Davies (Patrocinio 47’), Hurst, Robbins, Melbourne (Meade 87’), Acott (Foster 85’).
Unused subs: Potter.
Worksop: Reay, Wankiewicz, Trench, Woolley (Poole 84’), Atherton, Pemberton, Price, Patterson, Mitchell (Sykes 64’), Jordan (Nyoni 75’), Brunt.
Unused subs: Wilson, Goodwin, Royals, Simpson.
Booked: Price, Nyoni (Worksop).
Sent off: Robbins (Shepshed).
Player of the match: Matt Melbourne (Shepshed). The striker’s pace and power proved too much for the home side to handle in the second period, and an all-action performance was capped with a well-taken goal. That said, praise should also go to Liam Hurst, Karl Whymark, Celson Patrocinio and Niall Prenderville, who controlled proceedings in the middle of the park for much of the second half.