Worksop Town fired a warning shot across the bows of every promotion chasing team in the Evo-Stik Premier, with a 6-1 beating of Stamford.
The quality of Tigers’ attacking play was matched by a midfield with real bite, and a rock solid defensive unit in perhaps the display of the season so far.
Highlights included a second hat-trick in two games for Leon Mettam, and four fine debuts from new signings.
Adam Murray, on loan from Mansfield, starred in midfield with some exquisite passing, while Jake Scott returned to the club with a goal and a great all round performance.
In goal Jan Budtz vocal, in command but rarely troubled, while 18-year-old Josh Williams was a cool customer at left-back.
Man of the Match was another recent addition, loanee Adam Quinn at centre-half who marshalled the back line perfectly.
Tigers started at a frenetic pace, and never let up.
Mettam’s cheeky back header came close to giving Worksop the lead, then the post denied Jack Muldoon who had been played in by Scott.
Two new boys were involved as Worksop took the lead on 13 minutes, Murray’s quick free-kick setting Muldoon free, his cross saw Denton challenge and when the ball fell to Scott he controlled and fired home with aplomb.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 with a picture perfect counter attacking move.
Chris Salt’s clearance found Mettam, he spread the play wide for Alex Pursehouse to storm forward and the full-back’s cross was controlled and half volleyed into the net, via the crossbar, by Shane Clarke.
Another scintillating attack brought the third on 26 minutes - Pursehouse, Muldoon and Mettam all linking up before the skipper was fouled by Richard Jones in the box.
Mettam picked himself up to convert the resulting spot-kick.
A shellshocked Stamford were 4-0 behind with 11 minutes left in the half, Murray’s corner headed goalwards by Denton and just to be sure, Mettam nipped in with a point blank header for his 20th of the season.
Stamford had their first shot on 37 minutes, but it was a poor, trundling effort that didn’t trouble Budtz.
Denton almost claimed the fifth as Mettam’s shot deflected into his path, and he shot just wide off a defender.
At the other end, Stamford won three corners in quick succession – a chance to test Tigers on a recent weakness – but the home side held firm.
There was no respite for the Daniels after the break, as Worksop went further ahead just two minutes in.
The rain was teeming down as Denton turned and shot, the ball rebounding to Mettam who hammered home and celebrated another treble.
Ashley Robinson had a chance to take the shine off the scoreline, but spooned over from the edge of the box.
Worksop showed no signs of easing off, and went in search of a sixth, Murray releasing Mettam, the captain flicking it to Muldoon who blasted wide.
Ryan Walker picked up the first caution of the game, taking down Mettam who was clear on the right.
Stafford did pull a goal back in the 66th minute, Pursehouse’ pass to Clarke falling just short allowing Ryan Robbins to steal in and shoot past Budtz.
But two minutes later the five goal lead was restored, Muldoon scoring a fine effort.
Mettam, Scott and Murray departed to well deserved applause, all three giving Stamford a nightmare afternoon.
A second penalty, for a foul on Muldoon, was slammed against the post by Denton, but it was little consolation for a Daniels side who became Worksop’s third victims in a row at Sandy Lane.
Worksop: Budtz 8, Pursehouse 8, Williams 8, Murray 9 (Barnett 88), QUINN 9, Salt 8, Muldoon 9, Clarke 9, Denton 8, Mettam 9 (Adams 72), Scott 9 (McKenzie 76). Not used: Lemon, Wall.
Stamford: Lynch, Walker, Haines (Richardson 72), Ashton (Wesley 54), Jones, Challinor, Robinson, Jarvis, Smith, Richards (Lawlor 80), Robbins. Not used: Lawlor, Moyo, Jones.
Referee: M. Connell. Assistants: P. Walker, E. Stapleton.
Goalscorers: Scott 13, Clarke 16, Mettam 26 (pen), 34, 47, Muldoon 68; Robbins 66
Yellows: Walker 63