Tigers secure first ever win at doomed Stafford

Worksop Town’s second successive clean sheet helped them to a first ever win at almost certainly doomed Stafford.

Tigers triumphed 2-0, but could have had a hatful, with two goals disallowed and a penalty missed.

For a side facing imminent relegation, Stafford looked lively early on, left-back Oliver Davies and winger Daniel Cope making incisive runs albeit without an end product.

Tigers won a number of corners in the opening quarter of an hour, trying to put pressure on Manchester United keeper Johnny Sutherland, on loan at Marston Road, but the stopper stood firm.

Davies’ afternoon lasted just 15 minutes, a challenge by Warren Burrell leaving him in pain and forcing the entry of Alex Curtis from the bench.

The best early chance fell to the hosts, James McCarthy sprung through the middle, and although he went round Jon Stewart, Worksop’s defenders recovered.

Tigers had the ball in the net on 22 minutes, Jack Muldoon’s cross spilled by Sutherland for Shane Clarke to tap in, only for the offside flag to curtail the celebrations.

They seemed odds on to take the lead before the half hour mark when a lovely passing move put Jake Scott into the box, where he was tripped by Lewis Chalmers.

Leon Mettam took the spot-kick and slid it wide of the right hand upright.

Worksop didn’t have to wait long to celebrate however, Conor Higginson’s corner headed goalwards by Clarke, Adam Quinn making sure by nodding home from two yards.

Higginson had the chance to double the lead as Mettam’s cross found him at the far post, but Sutherland got down well to the winger’s header.

Stewart could feel somewhat fortunate not to be picking the ball out of his net inside the opening minute of the second half, coming for a cross and then changing his mind and watching in relief as Alex Curtis dribbled his shot wide.

Rangers were living dangerously, conceding possession all too often in their own half, and from one such error Clarke set his sights from 25 yards and drove the ball wide.

Worksop themselves fell into a poor spell, inviting Stafford forward, Tom Burgin and Stewart having to combine to keep out Curtis.

Mettam’s frustrating afteroon continued when he smashed the ball into the net, but heard the whistle go for a Stafford free-kick, Denton fouling his marker.

Stafford’s best player Ian Craney had their best effort on 63 minutes, fizzing a half volley just wide via a deflection.

Some great play from Muldoon won Tigers a corner, and when the ball came in Scott was hacked down by James McCarthy for a second penalty - this time Mettam making no mistake, drilling it low down the middle for a two goal cushion.

Young goalkeeper Sutherland pulled off a fine save to deny Tigers a third, beating out Denton’s fierce drive from 14 yards.

Mettam departed with the job done and 10 minutes remaining, Josh Thomas taking his place.

But it was another subsitute, Jamie Jackson, who very nearly got on the scoresheet, beating two men beautifully at the byline before his shot was blocked.

Mark Shaw’s final change was to hand Craig Clay a debut, Clarke making way after a fantastic shift.

Clay was instrumental in helping Tigers retain possession for the entirity of the latter stages, passing the ball around nicely to run the clock down on another step in the right direction for Worksop.

Stafford Rangers: Sutherland, Griffiths, Davies (Curtis 15), Ballinger, Bullock, Chalmers, Reid, Craney, McCarthy, Henderson (Hannah 80), Cope (Smith 71). Not used: Berkeley, Jones.

Worksop: Stewart 7, Burrell 7, Pursehouse 7, Scott 7, Quinn 7, BURGIN 8, Muldoon 8, Clarke 8 (Clay 84), Denton 7, Mettam 7 (Thomas 80), Higginson 7 (Jackson 74). Not used: Salt, Williams.

Referee: Paul Hobday. Assistants: Adrian Hall, Simon Burgess.

Goalscorers: Quinn 33, Mettam 66 (pen)

Yellows: McCarthy 66; Burgin 86

Attendance: 327.