DESPITE a three week layoff, a boggy pitch and a poor performance, Worksop Town came away from Stocksbridge with a 2-1 win and three points on Saturday.
It’s a mark of a good team, picking up wins when you play badly, but there was also an element of fortune to this victory.
Steels started much brighter, and were unfortunate to find themselves a goal down when defender Nicholas Swirad put through his own net.
Tigers grabbed a second two minutes later, but failed to make the match safe and later relied on the woodwork, a goal-line clearance and saves from keeper Paul Bastock.
Worksop showed considerable rust in the opening stages, a soaking wet pitch not helping the visitors to find their feet.
An awkward bounce of the ball deceived Kern Miller early on, allowing Alex Callery to run clean through, and luckily for Worksop Bastock was there to make a good save.
After 10 poor minutes, Worksop finally began to find a pass and their first real foray into the Steels half saw a sustained period of pressure, ending in a poor cross from Ash Burbeary, keeper Xavier Parisi claiming with ease.
Will Senior should have punished Tigers for their sluggish play on 17 minutes when the ball dropped to him eight yards out but he blasted over.
Within 60 seconds the hosts were made to rue the missed chance, Matt Telling sent in a decent cross to the Steels box and full-back Swirad spooned it over his keeper into the net.
The own goal was followed by a moment of real class that doubled Worksop’s lead.
Jamie Jackson, playing in the first game of his loan spell, did well on the right, crossed into the box and Burbeary curled an absolute beauty of a shot in off the far post.
With Stocksbridge in real danger of collapse, Burbeary drove into the box with an acre of space and his hard cross was spilled by Parisi but no visiting attackers were close enough to take advantage.
The shellshocked home side came forward with Matthew Hamshaw and after turning inside Lee Ridley his effort at goal was easy for Bastock.
Miller was in the right place to block Senior’s shot as he ran onto Hamshaw’s pass, Worksop fortunate to stay two up.
And seconds later Craig King gave away possession in midfield, Steels broke and Callery shot well over when well placed.
Luke Shiels came on at the break for centre-half Adie Hawes who had picked up a neck injury, as Tigers began slowly once again.
But four minutes into the half some slick passing soon released Jackson and he should have done better, firing over with his left from 16 yards.
Telling then put Jackson into space on the left, he crossed to the back post and King saw his goalbound effort palmed over for a corner.
A Steels break, helped by an apparent handball, came to nothing and allowed Worksop to attack again, the ball almost breaking to Burbeary at the far post, and from a subsequent corner Mettam volleyed over.
Worksop’s wastefulness came back to haunt them on the hour mark when Ridley was well beaten by Jordan Thewlis and the full-back slid in to clip the forward, conceding a penalty.
Hamshaw stepped up and sent Bastock the wrong way for 2-1.
And things almost got worse for the men in red when almost straight from the kick off, a cross found its way to Andy Ring and he volleyed at goal, Bastock saving well.
With their tails up Steels came again, Chris Bettney’s dangerous cross bringing another save from the Tigers stopper.
Twenty-five minutes into the half there was another let-off as a floated cross was headed off the line by Miller, Tigers struggling to put together anything remotely cohesive.
The woodwork then came to the rescue when Thewlis was put in, ghosted past Bastock’s dive and swung the ball in, only to see it crash off the bar.
Telling took matters into his own hands and went charging forward, Steels resorting to tripping him and giving away a free-kick that substitute Lee Beeson blasted into Parisi’s arms.
In the final four minutes hearts were in mouths as another good cross from the right was nodded goalwards by Brett Bowden-Lovell and Bastock pulled off a cracking save, although the referee had spotted a foul and awarded Tigers a free-kick.
Mettam, who had been given nothing by the officials all afternoon, went down in the box for the fourth time and yet again the referee saw in favour of Steels, booking the Worksop man for diving.
As the game entered time added on Beeson skipped away on the left and his shot was deflected just wide.
The full-time whistle was greeted with some relief on the part of the visitors, who maintained their excellent league form without ever really impressing.
Steels: Parisi, Swirad, Turner (Todd 86), Haigh, Agus, Callery, Bettney, Senior (Ring 52), South (Bowden-Lovell 41), Thewlis, Hamshaw. Subs: Noubiesse, Payne.
Worksop: BASTOCK 7, Clarke 4, Ridley 5, Telling 6, Hawes 5, Miller 5 (Shiels 45), King 5 (Beeson 70), Towers 5, Jackson 5, Mettam 5, Burbeary 6 (Warlow 70). Subs: Ludlam, Menga.
Referee :P.Thompson. Assistants: R. Jackson, T. Walker.
Goalscorers: Hamshaw 60 (pen); Own goal 18, Burbeary 20
Yellows: Mettam 87.