Stourbridge 3, Workington 2 (aet)

STOURBRIDGE made it into the Northern Premier League playoff final after a 3-2 extra time win at home to Workington this evening (Monday, April 24).

It could be third time lucky for the Amblecote side in their bid to reach step two of the non-league pyramid after twice missing out in the play-offs in 2013 and 2014 in their Southern League days.

Both sides come into the game in a rich vein of form. Gary Hackett’s men were six games unbeaten having won their last four league games, while their Cumbrian opponents enjoyed a tremendous April, reeling off six victories in a row before a draw on Saturday.

Stourbridge beat Workington 5-0 at Amblecote back in November, but the Reds have tightened up their defence since then, keeping six successive clean sheets.

Stour made three changes from the team that dispatched fellow play-off chasers Nantwich 4-2 on Saturday with Dan Preston, Matt Dodd and Jordan Archer replace Josh Green, Kayelden Brown and Brad Birch.

After a first 30 minutes of little chances, a Stuart Pierpoint header from a Tom Tonks free kick put the Glassboys 1-0 ahead going into the half time break.

Mid-way through the second half, David Symington scored a well struck 25-yard free kick to get Workington back into the tie.

But the game was only level for six minutes when Stourbridge’s top scorer Luke Benbow whipped in a left footed cross which made its way into the back of the net.

The Glassboys looked to be heading into Saturday’s final where they would face either a trip to Spennymoor Town or another War Memorial Ground tie against Nantwich, but with only one minute of injury time left, Dan Wordsworth rose highest from a corner to head in and bring the Cumbrian side level once again.

The game entered injury time and on 97 minutes Stourbridge went ahead for the third time. Jordan Archer turned his man 25-yards out before smashing his shot into the roof of the net.

After letting two leads slip out of their grasps, Stour were able to hold on third time round, with the referees final whistle sending the home fans into raptures.

Hackett’s men now face an anxious wait until tomorrow evening’s other semi-final to find out who their opponents will be in Saturday’s play-off final.

Stourbridge: Gould, Preston, Westlake, Tonks, Digie, Pierpoint, Dodd (Canavan 70), Broadhurst, Benbow, Jones (Birch 80), Archer (Brown 109).

Subs not used: Green, Westwood.

Workington: Taylor, Simpson, Rowntree (May 86), Wordsworth, Smith, Calvert, Symington, Earl (Joel 80), Allison, Wilson (Wright 102), Tinnion.

Subs not used: Ryan, Waterston.