Worksop Town put on a second half masterclass to come back from a goal down and earn a vital 4-1 win over FC United of Manchester, at Sandy Lane today.
Tigers needed three points to keep their play-off dreams alive, and a brace each for Leon Mettam and Ash Burbeary saw the Red Rebels well beaten.
The day started badly for the hosts, losing Martin Ball to injury before kick-off and going a goal down inside seven minutes.
But they roared back in impressive fashion after the break, didn’t give the visitors a second to settle and showed clinical finishing.
And it wasn’t just Tigers fans going home happy, as Sheffield Children’s Hopital Charity volunteers were on hand to benefit from the gate receipts, over £5,000 going to the worthy cause thanks to the club’s magnificent gesture.
A late change to the Worksop line-up saw Ball, who picked up an knock in the warm up, replaced in the centre of defence by midfielder Cecil Nyoni.
Tigers had a shaky start, Craig King almost setting the visitors in on goal with a poor back pass, and then the winger gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position, Astley Mulholland firing it over the bar.
At the other end Worksop’s first spell of decent possession saw Ryan Clarke deliver a cross, Tom Denton head goalwards and a defender clear off the line.
Tigers fell behind when a ball to the back post let the visitors get in behind the defence, a cross was not defended and Matthew Wolfenden was able to nip in and tuck the ball home.
Things could have got worse on 18 minutes, Mike Norton rising unmarke, to head at goal but the effort was straight into the arms of Paul Bastock.
Worksop were under real pressure as FC United attacked in waves, specifically down the left with Mulholland who put some dangerous balls into the box.
When they finally broke out of their own half, Worksop forged a good chance. Mettam ran clear down the left, played a lovely ball to a completely free King and when the shot was on, he fed Matt Young and he was tackled.
Ryan Clarke stormed forward beating a number of players, but when he fed King, the winger sent in a weak cross that was easily dealt with.
And to cap a poor 40 minutes for King, he sprinted away into acres of space and had Burbeary haring up alongside him, but lost possession.
With three minutes left in the half Worksop should have levelled, but when the ball dropped to Nyoni from a corner, the makeshift defender’s shot was tame and James Spencer saved with his feet.
The second half started brilliantly for the hosts, thanks to a great piece of skill and a fine finish on 51 minutes.
Burbeary controlled and beat a man in the middle with ease, slotted it through to Mettam to put the striker clean through and he made no mistake with his left foot, rushing off to celebrate and earning a yellow for removing his shirt.
Tigers had some defending to do almost immediately, Kern Miller making a vital block to deny Mulholland who had turned Burbeary inside out.
With 10 minutes of the second half gone, Mettam displayed his deadly finishing once again, running onto Clarke’s long ball, outpacing Dean Stott and nutmegging Spencer for a 2-1 lead.
And it was Mettam’s trickery that lead to the third goal for the hosts, twisting and turning and drawing a foul from Adam Jones in the box, winning a penalty.
Burbeary took the spot kick, kept his cool, despite some gamesmanship from Spencer and found the bottom right hand corner to make it 3-1 with 16 minutes left.
Having scored two and made one, Mettam left the field to a fitting ovation when Conner Robinson was sent on in his place.
The win was secure on 79 minutes, Man of the Match Burbeary nipping in to win the ball in a promising position, chasing it down as Spencer rushed out and lifting it over the keeper for 4-1.
There could have been a fifth when Robinson ran through all alone and instead of shooting took it past Spencer, going to the floor hopefully and was receiving a yellow for simulation.
FC United were denied by the woodwork when Dave Birch thumped a stunning volley off the bar, and Burbeary came close to his treble with an audacious effort that drifted wide.
The final whistle was greeted with jubilant celebrations, as Worksop secured their first win over FC United in six outings.
Worksop: Bastock 7, Clarke 7, Roe 7, Young 7, Nyoni 7, Miller 8, King 7, Towers 7, Denton 7, Mettam 8 (Robinson 76), BURBEARY 8 (Potts 86). Subs: Modest, Lindley.
FC United: Spencer, Jacobs, Neville (Walwyn 74), Birch, Jones, Stott, Wolfenden, Cottrell, Norton, Daniels, Mulholland (Greaves 70). Subs: Wright, Fitzgerald, Rodriguez.
Goalscorers: Mettam 51, 55, Burbeary 74 (pen), 79; Wolfenden 7
Yellows: Mettam 51, Robinson 80, Roe 90; Stott 83, Birch 83
Referee: P. Cook. Assistants: A. Brown, D. Parkinson.