Worksop Town laboured to victory over Staveley Miners Welfare on Wednesday night, a late goal keeping the points at Sandy Lane.
It wasn’t a vintage performance, but Tigers did gain a measure of revenge for their FA Cup exit at the hands of the Welfare side earlier this season.
The win maintained the club’s unbeaten run, now standing at seven games, in which they’ve only conceded four times.
The home side had to cope without defensive rock Luke Shiels, youngster Luke Weaver taking the injured centre-half’s place.
His defensive partner Sam Liversidge started the game’s first attack, and a lovely move it was, sweeping from back to front with one touch passing before Connor Smythe fired just wide of the far post.
A sliderule pass from Mitch Husbands for strike partner Andre Johnson had Steve Hernandez scrambling off his line to make a brave challenge, and although Johnson regained the ball and shot at goal, Brad Jones cleared off the line.
Conor Sellars was clattered 35 yards from goal by ex Tiger Jack Watts, the midfielder was able to pick himself up and fire in a free-kick that Hernandez had to save.
Seconds later Watts was late on Jonathan Wafula and obviously living a charmed life as the referee still didn’t produce a card.
An inviting cross from Wafula on the right gave Johnson another chance but he couldn’t make enough contact and it was easy for Hernandez.
The opener arrived on 25 minutes and it was worth the wait.
After a scrappy passage of play, Tom Elliott picked up the ball and drove forward before finding Husbands who shifted it to the outside and then fizzed a drive into the far corner of the net.
Nathan Forbes warmed Ben Gathercole’s hands with a low shot for Staveley, the men in blue and white coming into the game after half an hour.
The same player had a good chance to level things up when the ball dropped to him in the box after a punt upfield and this time he blasted miles over.
It could easily have been 2-0 when Elliott touched the ball to Smythe, he crossed low and hard and Sellars slid in to poke the ball just wide.
But it was a moment of brilliance that brought the next goal, and it was for the visitors.
The ball fell to Ryan Damms, about 35 yards away from goal and as it bounced he hooked it goalwards on the turn, lobbing the stranded Gathercole and finding the net.
Staveley went on to control the latter stages of the half, winning a couple of corners and creating a chance for Forbes to shoot again, Gathercole equal to it.
After the break Worksop had a poor start, conceding possession in their own half and allowing Damms to get in a shot off, the ball just passing the far post.
A quick counter attack at the other end saw Elliott play in Johnson, Hernandez saving his shot and watching in dismay as the rebound landed at the feet of Wafula - whose shot was wild and over the bar.
Worksop may have been struggling to retain possession for any length of time, but they still looked good on the break and Elliott’s crossfield pass found Sellars who shot against a defender.
Wafula tried his luck and brought a good save from Hernandez.
The Tigers midfield man then gave the ball away with an awful pass, setting Staveley on an attack and bringing Gathercole into action, saving from Forbes.
In a busy spell for Wafula, he tried to make amends for the errant pass and sent a fierce shot just over the bar.
A bloody nose meant Smythe had to leave the field on 64 minutes and Jack Waddle took his place at left-back.
Hernandez had to be sharp to keep out Sellars’ free-kick, just left of centre, palming it over the bar.
That was Sellars’ last contribution, an injury necessitating the introduction of Jack Hawkins.
The little replacement made a dramatic impact, tiptoeing past his marker and sending a beautiful cross to the back post where fellow substitute Chris Whincop powered a header past Hernandez.
Overall it wasn’t pretty, but the majority of the 505 in attendance were happy enough at the full-time whistle.
Worksop: Gathercole 7, PURSEHOUSE 8, Smythe 6 (Waddle 64), Scott 6, Liversidge 7, Weaver 6, Sellars 7 (Hawkins 80), Wafula 7, Husbands 6, Johnson 6, Elliott 7 (Whincop 77). Not used: Dawson, Jordan.
Staveley: Hernandez, Jones, McIntosh, Lindley, Fisher, Magee, Wall (Goodwin 88), Finlaw, Damms (Eagers 75), Watts. Forbes (Flint 66). Not used: Poulton, Butt.
Referee: Mr C. Hunter. Assistants: Mr K. Guise, Mr J. Middleton.
Goalscorers: Husbands 25, Whinchop 83, Husbands 86; Damms 41
Yellows: Weaver 73; Finlaw 72