Worksop Town‘s remarkable run of form continued, as they put five past Stalybridge Celtic in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Tigers made it four wins in a row with the 5-3 victory away from home, booking their place in the third qualifying round at the expense of higher league opposition.
Yet again their strikers were in full flow, Leon Mettam bagging a brace and Jack Muldoon and Tom Denton also netting, along with midfielder Shane Clarke’s third in four games.
Looking for their third early goal in as many games, Worksop pumped a first minute free-kick into the box and although it fell to Chris Salt at the back post, he prodded it into Celtic keeper Anthony Windle’s arms.
Down the other end, the offside flag stayed down as Obi Anoruo raced clear, Salt getting back to make a perfectly timed tackle in the box.
Celtic’s Greg Wilkinson came closest to an early goal with a dipping shot that just cleared Brad Hallam’s bar, and then a set-piece move from the home side brought a shooting chance, Phil Roe diving to block the ball.
In the 10th minute Anoruo looked to have headed home the opener at the near post, but for a cracking reaction save from Hallam.
On 16 minutes Tigers hit their hosts with a sucker punch to grab the opener.
A corner for Celtic was headed clear by Denton, Muldoon raced down the flank and crossed for Mettam who touched it past the last defender and slotted home.
Two minutes later Worksop had the Conference North side rocking as Muldoon set his sights from 25 yards and found the bottom corner with aplomb.
Stalybridge thought they’d pulled a goal back on 20 minutes, Hallam rushing out and colliding with both Salt and Anoruo, the ball coming off the striker’s head and finding the net.
But the referee blew for a foul, handing Worksop a free-kick and infuriating the home side, Lewis Hatch booked for his protest.
Wilkinson joined him in the book before the half hour mark for his tackle on Josh Davies, sparking a bout of handbags.
When the game finally settled down again, Celtic came down the left flank with menace and Sean McConville’s near post shot was blocked by Hallam.
Tigers looked to break from another Stalybridge corner, and the move ended with Higginson’s first time volley almost being turned in by Clarke.
The third goal came on 37 minutes, Phil Roe running at his man and then crossing perfectly for Denton to steer a header into the corner of the net.
But two minutes later Celtic proved they weren’t out of the tie, Hatch firing in a cracking shot from 30 yards that gave Hallam no chance.
It was very nearly 3-2 when Hatch sent the ball to the back post, Wilkinson nodding just wide after beating Jordan Lemon to the ball.
On the stroke of half-time Worksop took a 4-1 lead against their hosts, Roe crossing to Denton, his header controlled by Muldoon and Mettam’s shot not held by keeper Windle, Clarke tucking home.
The second half was only two minutes old when Worksop had their fifth, Mettam scoring the goal of the game and sending the away fans into raptures.
After outmuscling the last defender, wide on the left, he spun and placed the ball in side the near post with his left foot. It was a sublime finish.
McConville was desperately unlucky not to get Celtic’s second, his goalbound shot coming off Salt’s knee and hitting the bar, Joel Bembo-Leta nodding the rebound over.
On 58 minutes Lemon’s terrible back header allowed McConville to skip in behind him, beat Hallam and make it 5-2.
On the hour mark things got worse for Lemon as he brought McConville down in the box and Kristian Platt’s spot-kick made the game a contest yet again.
Tigers managed to get hold of the game again midway through the second half however, Higginson bringing a fine save from Windle, low to the keeper’s left.
Stalybridge kept coming though, Alex Pursehouse - who had replaced Lemon - clearing away from the goalmouth as a dangerous cross came in.
With just under 10 minutes left Gaughan and Bembo-Leta had a foot race for a through ball, the Celtic player reaching the ball firsts but Hallam saving his shot.
With that came the final decent chance for Stalybridge.
The post came in the way of Worksop’s sixth when Denton was gifted the ball with only Windle to beat, and then Mettam raced into a clever ball but tried to chip the keeper and gave him an easy save.
Full-time brought celebrations from everyone in yellow, who await Monday’s draw for their third qualifying round opponents.
Stalybridge Celtic: Windle, Bleau, McWilliams, Warburton, Bembo-Leta, Platt, Hatch, Wilkinson (Lees 52), Anoruo (Pepper 28) (Durnin 69), McConville, Platt. Not used: Haywood, Smith, Cameron, Welsby.
Worksop Town: Hallam 6, Lemon 6 (Pursehouse 62), Roe 7, Davies 7 (Cottingham 46), Salt 6, Gaughan 6, Muldoon 8, Clarke 8, Denton 8, METTAM 8, Higginson 8 (McKenzie 84). Not used: Wall, Adams, Barnett, Gathercole.
Referee: T. Nield. Assistants: J. Rhodes, E. Simms.
Goalscorers: Hatch 39, McConville 58, Platt 61 (pen); Mettam 16, 47, Muldoon 18, Denton 37, Clarke 45.
Yellows: Hatch 22, Wilkinson 29; Lemon 60