A hat-trick from Matt Booth got Worksop Town out of jail against a stubborn Pontefract side at Sandy Lane.
Tigers’ 3-0 victory put them top of the NCEL Premier again, but the performance was far from the best seen from Mark Shaw’s men.
It was former Retford United man Booth’s first start of the season, and three smart finishes proved the difference.
Worksop were dishing out the rough treatment, for a change, in the early exchanges - both Tom Elliott and Phil Roe making rash tackles, the latter booked.
Brad Kerr had the game’s first attempt, lashing a half volley over the top when the ball broke to him 20 yards out.
Tigers were slow out of the blocks, but when they did wake from their slumber Kyle Jordan brought a good save from Liam Corbett, and the keeper made an excellent stop from a Julian Lawrence header seconds later.
Worksop stood off as Josh Wright went on a charge through the middle, and the hosts almost paid dearly, his shot leaving Jon Kennedy rooted to the spot, the ball crashing off the bar - Kerr slicing the rebound wide.
The visitors were unlucky not to take the lead when Mark Whitehouse swung the ball across the face of goal, without the necessary touch.
Then Tigers went straight down the other end and scored, with a beautifully simple passing move.
Jordan cut the ball back to Elliott from the right touchline, he found Conor Higginson and the skipper slid it through for Elliott who crossed from the byline, Booth turning it home for a lead against the run of play.
Booth showed good control to dance his way out of two tackles before blasting goalwards, the shot always moving away from the target.
The second half had a scrappy opening, the pitch cutting up and both sides putting little in the way of attacking play together.
It was Tigers who created the first chance, Higginson and Roe linking up well before Booth’s shot on the turn was deflected wide.
With Worksop pressing high up the pitch, Pontefract broke out and Kennedy had to make a smart stop at his near post from Kerr’s low drive.
A bad giveaway by Cottingham gifted Whitehouse the ball and he tried an audacious lob that drifted just past the post.
Worksop should have been 2-0 up when Elliott put Jordan in the clear, the striker delaying his shot and going for a stylish lifted finish, clearing the keeper and the bar.
A bizarre mistake by the visitors saw them take a free-kick outside their own area and give it straight to Jordan, with Corbett off his line, but he sliced a long range shot wide.
Booth calmed nerves inside Sandy Lane however, running onto another excellent Elliott pass and prodding it past Corbett for his and Worksop’s second.
The local man made it an afternoon to remember three minutes later, in the right place to knock home the rebound after Jordan’s curling shot was palmed away.
As Booth celebrated his hat-trick, both Jordan and Higginson were withdrawn, Adam Ward and Steve Woolley taking their places.
The replacements, along with Alex Nightingale who replaced Phil Roe, looked lively, Worksop taking the sting out of the game as the action fizzled out.
A 3-0 scoreline flattered the hosts a little, but their superior fitness and quality was there to see – if only in glimpses, and the win was deserved.
Worksop are at home again on Wednesday night when Garforth Town are the visitors.
Worksop: Kennedy 7, Cottingham 6, Roe 6 (Nightingale 75), Lawrence 7, Waddle 5, HADFIELD 7, Higginson 6 (Woolley 68), Harrison 6, Booth 7, Jordan 5 (Ward 68), Elliott 7. Not used: Hodder, Steade.
Pontefract: Corbett, S. Ahmed, Whitehouse, Lindley, Sykes, Wright (H. Ahmed 76), Joseph, Reece, Kerr, Palfrey (Rouse 83), James (Parry 76). Not used: Schofield, Mawson.
Referee: Mr T. Walker
Assistants: Mr J. Oldham, Mr P. Jakuitis.
Goalscorers: Booth 25, 64, 67
Yellows: Roe 6; Wright 19, Whitehouse 41, Palfrey 76, Parry 77