The wheels may not have come off Worksop Town’s title bid, but three losses in a row constitutes a significant wobble.
Tigers were punished for a poor second half on Saturday, as they lost 2-1 to Trafford.
They were without the injured Leon Mettam, Laurence Gaughan and Conor Higginson, and the suspended Tom Denton and Phil Roe.
But coming into the starting line-up was loan signing Mark Gray and returning striker Jamie Jackson.
There was an early chance for Marc Goodfellow to test Tom Read from a free-kick 25 yards out, but he hit the wall.
Trafford won a dead ball of their own, Shelton Payne shaping to shoot from a similar position and his low shot was dealt with by Jon Stewart.
Worksop’s strikeforce of Jackson and Jack Muldoon combined to fashion a great chance for the latter, keeper Read saving brilliantly.
The resulting corner brought the opening goal, Goodfellow curling in the ball for Jackson to get up and head into the far corner of the net, announcing his return in style.
Jack Adams went on a mazy run after Trafford gifted him possession, and his shot looked goalbound until a defender deflected it wide.
The visitors broke from the resulting corner, Stewart beating out Payne’s shot and Michael Oates was offside as he tucked home the rebound.
Poor clearances put the home side under needless pressure, and Josh Hill had to be sharp to block a dangerous ball into the middle.
At the other end, Muldoon played in Goodfellow, he turned away from goal to be on his favoured left foot but clipped his cross too high.
Muldoon then went himself after intercepting a sloppy pass, and drilled the ball just wide of Read’s right hand post.
Tigers played their best football in the last few minutes of the half, Jackson coming close to a second as he volleyed Muldoon’s knock down wide.
And they were in full flow within a minute of the restart, Jackson finding Muldoon who’s touch allowed Clarke to hammer the ball inches wide.
Trafford’s inability to clear a free-kick let Alex Pursehouse deliver a lovely ball into the box, where Josh Hill rose along to head just over the top.
Clarke was presenting a real threat, and he was unlucky to see a fierce shot deflected wide before he met a corner and sent it straight at Read.
Payne was the obvious dangerman for the visitors, driving at Josh Williams and beating him, but firing wide.
Trafford were getting on top, and the goal their play deserved arrived on the hour mark as Tom Schofield unleashed an absolute thunderbolt from 35 yards.
In a rare Worksop attack, Hill’s long ball found Jackson who put it into the middle, Nia Bayunu almost heading into his own net.
When Goodfellow was caught on the ball, Trafford showed some lovely touches before releasing Payne, but Stewart produced a fine save.
The Trafford winger wasn’t to be denied on 83 minutes however, ghosting past Hill and drilling the ball into the back of Worksop’s net to give the away side victory.
Jackson’s skill and pace left two defenders for dead and when his cross found Adams he should have equalised, but blazed over.
In injury time a free-kick wide on the left gave Tigers another chance, and this time Hill got up highest but couldn’t find the target.
Worksop: STEWART 7, Pursehouse 6, Williams 5, Scott 6, Hill 6, Gray 6, Muldoon 6, Clarke 6(Cole 71), Jackson 6, Adams 5 (Barnett 88), Goodfellow 5 (Husbands 84). Not used: Gathercole, Broadhead.
Trafford: Read, Mason, Heron, Jones (Welsh 61), Bayunu, Schofield, Payne, Andrews, Oates (Derbyshire 87), Fallon, Ashton. Not used: Palmer, Vaughan, Hackney.
Goalscorers: Jackson 14; Schofield 60, Payne 83.
Yellows: Clarke 33, Pursehouse 73; Fallon 49
Referee: J. Simpson. Assistants: J. Masheder, S. Healey.