Worksop Town maintained their Evo-Stik Premier title challenge on Tuesday, with an assured defensive display in a 2-0 win at Trafford.
Tigers moved up into second place, just two points behind leaders Chorley, albeit having played a game more, thanks to goals from Shane Clarke and Leon Mettam.
While the home side arguably played the better football for long periods, they were toothless in attack – a charge you just can’t level at this Worksop team.
For once, however, the goalscoring exploits took a back seat to the solid performance of centre-half Adam Quinn and his partner Tom Burgin.
It took Tigers just 30 seconds to win their first corner, and it almost brought the opener, Quinn nodding wide.
Trafford dangerman Shelton Payne had an early effort at goal, Jon Stewart was equal to it.
Tigers were guilty of sloppy passing in the first quarter of an hour, building momentum and then losing it through wasteful play.
Conor Higginson tried to add some quality as he danced past two challenges and skipped into space, his fierce shot was off target however.
Trafford keeper Tom Read came close to embarrassing his side, dropping a routine catch, but before Quinn could connect the stopper reclaimed the ball.
Worksop finally hit the target in the 26th minute, Burgin’s cross was only half cleared and Clarke drilled a half volley into the net from 20 yards.
A few seconds later Higginson fed Leon Mettam on the left and his pass across the box was inviting but no one could reach it.
And a minute after that Jack Muldoon drove at the last man and drilled a low shot goalwards, Read beating it out.
The game was suddenly alive, Trafford breaking with real pace allowing Paul Ashton to go clear on the left, his shot well saved by Stewart.
Trafford began to play the ball around nicely in the latter stages of the half, fashioning shooting space for Ashton on the edge of the box, this time his shot was over.
Breaking the hosts’ spell of dominance, Worksop took play to the other end where Mettam curled a beauty of a free-kick goalwards and Read had to palm over.
The second half started much in the same vein as the first, Quinn with a chance from a corner, this time nodding over.
Higginson’s tenacity saw him win the ball on the left and pass into the middle for Denton, but a defender got there first.
On 54 minutes Higginson’s eagerness to regain possession earned him a yellow for clattering Steve Mason late.
The card was out again for Trafford’s Andy Smart, just a minute after Ashton was lucky to get away with a bad tackle on Higginson.
There was a collective gasp of disbelief in the ground when Denton nodded down a free-kick and the ball fell to Mettam six yards out, but for once the goal machine malfunctioned and sent the ball straight at Read.
His next effort, with 15 left, was straight from a corner and hit the bar. When Trafford made a mess of the goal kick Mettam tricked his way round a defender, and the keeper, but couldn’t apply a finish.
Read was playing a dangerous game with back passes, and Muldoon’s aggressive chasing caught him out, but the ball trickled wide of the post.
With five minutes remaining a piece of fortune gifted Tigers a 2-0 lead, a clearance rebounding off Denton in the box and forcing a great save from Read - and Mettam was in exactly the right place to steer home the rebound.
There was a golden chance for Trafford to pull a goal back, but despite Welsh robbing Burgin and finding Payne in the middle, the home side’s star man blazed miles over.
He got another late sight of goal, 25 yards or so from goal, this one fizzed wide and his side’s chances of spoiling Stewart’s clean sheet fizzled out.
Trafford: Read, Welsh, Smart, Mason, Bayunu, Palmer, Payne, Andrews, Hackney, Fallon, Ashton. Not used: Moore, Allen, Heron, Jones, Depeiaza.
Worksop: Stewart 7, Burrell 6, Pursehouse 6, Scott 6, QUINN 8, Burgin 7, Muldoon 6, Clarke 7, Denton 7 (Thomas 89), Mettam 7, Higginson 6 (Jackson 69). Not used: Salt, Williams, Roe.
Referee: B. Roberts. Assistants: M. Hughes, P. Shacklady.
Goalscorers: Clarke 26, Mettam 85
Yellows: Smart 69, Welsh 84; Higginson 54