Norton earns Louth a point at high flying Worksop

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Worksop Parramore 1-1 Louth Town

STEVE Norton netted a second half equaliser to earn Louth Town a valuable point at third placed Worksop Parramore on Tuesday night.

The striker continued his good recent form to cancel out Lee Thompson’s curling free kick making it just one defeat in six games for the White Wolves as their season begins to turn.

Louth had already thrashed the Nottinghamshire side 5-1 at Park Avenue in the Wilkinson Sword Trophy back in August, and were high on confidence after back-to-back wins last week.

The sides began on a pristine playing surface despite persistent drizzle and it was the hosts that began the game the stronger. Scott Preece’s early shot was charged down by Town defender Stuart Leafe before Matt Thorpe rounded Craig Wherry but slipped at the vital moment with the goal gaping.

But the White Wolves slowly began to settle and played some good early football of their own. Norton linked well with Matt Kennedy but hit his shot straight at Worksop ‘keeper Steve Hernandes.

Moments later an Elliot Broughton piledriver from 20 yards flashed wide before a quick counter attack from the hosts saw striker Gavin Davis cut inside only to see his curler saved well by Wherry.

And the Louth ‘keeper had to be at his best two minutes later, diving low to his right to palm away Adam Fretwell’s stinging strike from the edge of the box.

Mark Wood was next to threaten at the other end, linking well with winger Rocky Rawlings before curling a 25 yarder which Hernandes held well. Then a mazy run from Broughton saw a brilliant last ditch challenge from Karl Colley as the winger looked set to pull the trigger.

A slip by Worksop defender Nicky Haywood allowed Kennedy a free run down the right, but the Town man was unable to find the unmarked Norton in the box.

As half time approached the hosts began to turn the screw, Cyrus Lewis sent through Lee Thompson but his shot smashed against the base of the post with Wherry beaten, and the rebound from the same player was cleared off the line by Louth skipper Carl Martin.

The interval was a welcome one for Town but the hosts made their pressure pay just three minutes after the re-start. Thompson’s 20 yard free kick bent around the wall and into Wherry’s far post, giving the ‘keeper no chance and making it 1-0.

Broughton’s strike from range flew into the side netting before the visitors were denied what they thought was a clear penalty as Norton was sent tumbling by Hernandes in the Worksop goal. Referee Adam Smith waved away the enthusiastic appeals from Louth’s players and management.

But on 65 minutes the White Wolves hauled themselves level. Norton and Kennedy again linked well and a neat one-two saw Norton free in the box and the frontman fired the ball under the goalkeeper to make it 1-1. It was Norton’s third goal in three games and sixth of the season.

As the second half wore on both sides looked like they could grab the points. Davis’ shot for the home side crashed off the bar before being cleared while some sustained pressure ended with Thompson’s shot being well saved by Wherry.

At the other end Louth enjoyed a spell of pressure of their own. Substitute Mike Armstrong’s floated cross was met by Kennedy but his spectacular overhead kick flew over the bar and Phil Winter headed wide from a corner.

As the final whistle blew both sides appeared pleased with a point after a pulsating affair. It was enough for Worksop to leapfrog Albion Sports at the top of the Northern Counties East League Division One, and Louth moved above local rivals Grimsby Borough into 16th by the virtue of goal difference.

Town face another stern test on Saturday when they travel to Sheffield to play third placed Handsworth (3pm), Paul Walden’s men were soundly beaten 2-0 when the sides met at Park Avenue in September, and will be confident of a better result this time around.

Next week’s Leader will have the full report.