A LAST-GASP winner from Nathan Kamara propelled Pickering Town to a 3-2 victory over Clipstone in an absorbing Northern Counties East League Premier division game at the Recreation Ground.
The former York City trainee’s scrappy strike in the 88th minute pushed the Pikes up to seventh in the table at the expense of Clipstone, who hauled themselves back into the game from two goals down.
Unlike last week’s comprehensive defeat of Garforth at Mill Lane, it proved tough going for the hosts to establish their passing rhythm in the early stages.
Joe Danby’s delivery from a free kick found George Bissett at the back post, and the defender’s effort was hacked clear by James Ashmore.
James Bennett was allowed to turn in a dangerous area and chip a through ball into Calum Ward’s path, although the striker couldn’t keep his volley down.
The Cobras’ defence tenaciously blocked most shots in the first half but, in the 36th minute, Mitch Hamilton forged enough space on the top of the box to force an effort on target. The ball struck Steve Hernandez’s chest and left Ward with the simple task of lifting the ball over the prone goalkeeper. This was the former Tadcaster Albion man’s third goal in as many games.
Three minutes after the break a calamitous mix-up in the visiting defence ensued, as Chris Salt and Ellis Wall both abdicated responsibility for the ball. Joe Danby, on a run from deep, was first to react and opened his body up to finish past Hernandez for 2-0.
Clipstone, who have lost four of their last five games, were at sixes and sevens at this stage when half-time substitute Tyler Bates almost put through his own net with a skewed clearance.
The Nottinghamshire side mounted a comeback which began when former Rotherham United trainee Nicky Walker rounded Toby Wells and squared across goal for Wall, who atoned with a close-range finish.
Walker cut in from the left and came close to levelling seconds later with a long-range drive, but he broke through on 76 minutes with a tap-in from Alec Denton’s shot that hit the bottom of the post.
The Pikes hung on thanks to embattled former Easingwold School pupil Wells’ stunning save from a free-kick. The ball appeared to be behind him when he pawed it off his line.
The game looked like it had gone when Ward fluffed his lines in a one-on-one with Hernandez.
But Danby’s late corner was flicked on by Matty Turnbull for Kamara to poke into the roof of the net with two minutes remaining to send the Recreation Ground crowd into raptures.
Manager Paul Marshall’s side are on the charge and have won five of their last six in all competitions. He said: “It was another good win, a hard-fought win.
“Clipstone, to their credit, could have folded at 2-0 but they gave us a real go. We panicked a little bit and let them back into a game we’d been quite comfortable in.
“It’s about trying to maximise what we get out of these home games and we’ve got six points from the first two. If we can get points from the next three I would be quite confident of finishing in the top six.”