Worksop Town completed the league double over Stafford Rangers with a 2-0 win, their first ever win at Marston Road.
Mark Shaw named an unchanged starting XI, with new signing Craig Clay starting on the bench.
It was clear from the outset that free flowing football was going to be difficult as both teams struggled on a very bumpy pitch.
In a fairly even start to the game Rangers got into some good positions only to be let down by the final ball whilst the Tigers forced a series of corners which came to nothing.
The first real chance of the game fell to Stafford, a through ball found James McCarthy in space but as he tried to go round Jon Stewart the ‘keeper produced a fine save palming the ball away from the striker’s feet allowing the defence time to recover.
On 22 minutes the Tigers thought they had taken the lead when Shane Clarke prodded home from close range after Johnny Sutherland, on-loan from Manchester United, spilled Jack Muldoon’s cross, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
With the half hour mark approaching an excellent passing move involving Warren Burrell, Muldoon, Jake Scott and Leon Mettam was brought to an end when Lewis Chalmers tripped Scott. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.
Unfortunately for the Tigers the normally reliable Mettam put the spot kick wide of the upright after sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
A good one-two between Muldoon and Mettam set up an opportunity for Muldoon who saw his shot well saved at the near post.
The deadlock was finally broken on 33 minutes; Adam Quinn nodding home from close range Clarke’s header from Conor Higginson’s corner.
Moments later Higginson had the chance to double the lead but Sutherland comfortably saved his header from Mettam’s cross.
Stafford had a glorious opportunity to equalise inside the opening minute of the second half following indecision from Stewart. The ‘keeper started to come for a cross field cross from Levi Reid before stopping, the ball found the unmarked Alex Curtis with time and space only for Curtis to badly miss hit his shot wide.
At the other end Clarke fired just wide from 22 yards out after the home side gifted possession away.
A good defence splitting pass from Ian Craney found Curtis, and although Burgin did well to shepherd Curtis away from goal the substitute managed to get his shot away, Stewart saving with his feet.
Just past the hour mark the Tigers had the ball in the net again. Mettam prodding the ball home after Sutherland dropped Muldoon’s cross under pressure from Tom Denton, only for the referee to award a free kick for a foul on the ‘keeper.
Then Craney saw a 25 yard shot deflected for a corner after Reid headed back Curtis’ cross into the path of the midfielder.
On 66 minutes the Tigers were awarded a second penalty after Scott was brought down by McCarthy, McCarthy receiving a yellow card. This time Mettam made no mistake from the penalty spot.
The visitors thought they should have been awarded a third penalty when Denton appeared to be bungled over by Chalmers as he tried to reach Mettam’s cross only for the referee to wave play on.
Curtis should have pulled a goal back when he volleyed Griffiths’ cross over the bar form 6 yards out.
Denton was to go close to extending the Tigers lead following good work down the right by Muldoon but Sutherland produced a fine save to parry his shot from inside the area.
With the game won Shaw started to introduce his substitutes and one of those, Jamie Jackson produced a fine piece of skill before seeing his shot blocked.
The final substitution saw Craig Clay come on for his debut, in place of Clarke. During the final few minutes he showed some fine touches and positional awareness as he helped the Tigers take the “sting” out of the game.
Sutherland, Griffiths, Davies (Curtis 15), Ballinger, Bullock (c), Chalmers, Reid, Craney, McCarthy, Henderson (Hannan 80), Cope (Smith 71)
Unused subs: Berkeley, Jones
Booked: McCarthy (66)
Stewart, Burrell, Pursehouse, Scott, Quinn, Burgin, Muldoon, Clarke (Clay 84), Denton, Mettam (c) (Thomas 81), Higginson (Jackson 74)
Unused subs: Salt, Williams
Goals: Quinn (33), Mettam (66, pen)
Booked: Burgin (86)
Referee: Mr P Hobday
Assistants: Mr A Hall & Mr S Burgess