A two division gap showed in the end as the Tigers crashed out of the FA Cup to Nantwich Town at the First Qualifying Round stage.
The hosts, possibly playing a rotated squad, started the better with several fast interchanges with the Tigers adopting a no-nonsense defensive attitude to the game.
It was Aaron Knight who opened the scoring after 16 minutes, the winger collected the ball just inside the box after a corner-kick wasn’t cleared well enough and smashed his effort into the bottom corner, cue the goal music!
Tigers first attack came down the right, a cross from out wide saw Connor Brunt beat his marker to the header but the effort flew over the bar.
Minutes later the striker grabbed the equaliser just before the half hour mark, an hopeful ball into the box evaded the Nantwich defender as it bounced up and over him off the wet surface and perfectly for Connor Brunt who ran on to the volley smashing it into the far bottom corner.
Five minutes after Tigers keeper Andrew Francis, making his debut for the absent Dave Reay, clawed away a sure-fire tap in for striker Callum Saunders after an initial smart save at his feet.
The second half brought lots of entertainment, Worksop could of took the lead after a corner kick was curled in and the ball fell to Max Pemberton at the back post but got caught under the defenders feet and cleared to safety.
That clearance sparked a series of events that eventually led to the Dabbers taking the lead. Francis made a smart save to his right from a fierce effort and then could only watch as a header crashed off the bar. Just a few minutes after a sustained attack by the home side they won a free-kick on the edge of the box, James Lawrie stepped up and curled a sublime effort right in the top corner leaving everyone standing to admire it, 2-1!
Worksop were left then rueing their chances as Brunt had half a chance at the back post, a throw-in came all the way over but the striker could only squirm the chance wide.
Nantwich then increased their deficit on the 62nd minute, another free-kick on the edge of the box from an identical position was this time deflected high by the wall, keeper Francis was then beaten to the ball by the alert Aaron Knight who grabbed his second of the afternoon by heading over the on-rushing Francis.
Just a minute later the home side then grabbed a fourth, the Dabbers won it back from kick-off and a cross from the right found Callum Saunders in the middle and the forward crouched down to head past Francis and put the game beyond doubt with half-an-hour to go.
A flurry of substitutes from both sides then slowed the game down, Tigers did grab a consolation on the 81st minute through Tomas Poole, one of Worksops subs. What looked a definite foul on a Nantwich midfielder was waved away and the Tigers flung the ball into the box with the Dabbers defender strange ducking down and the ball deflecting off his back to the grateful Poole just four yards out and he duly blasted past the keeper.
Ex-Crewe forward Steve Jones came off the bench for the home side and grabbed the final goal of the game. A corner wasn’t sufficiently cleared and it came to Jones on the penalty spot, the veteran then blasted his chance in the corner with three minutes of normal time left to play.
The Tigers couldn’t grab another, despite a fresh forward line off the bench including centre back Steve Wankiewicz’s presence as a target man.
The final whistle then blew on the contest and Worksop can look upon their campaign with pride, with now the FA Vase and League Cup remaining as cup competitions. Denton though will also know the league is wide open this year and will look forward to turning his attention to achieving more substantial success in that particular department.
TIGERS XI: Francis, Price (C), Trench, Pemberton, Reay, Royles, Patterson, Goodwin, Mitchell (Wankiewicz), Jordan (Simpson), Brunt (Poole)
SUBS NOT USED: Gamble, B.Wilson, Atherton, H.Wilson
GOALS: Nantwich: Aaron Knight (16, 61)
James Lawrie (52)
Callum Saunders (62)
Steve Jones (87)
Worksop Town: Connor Brunt (28), Tomas Poole (82)