Worksop Town dominated Athersley Recreation on Wednesday night, en route to a comfortable 2-0 win.
Only an inspired goalkeeping performance from Neal May kept the scoreline from getting as lopsided as the possession statistics undoubtedly were.
Conor Higginson and Tom Elliott provided the goals, but the performances of the likes of Jake Scott, Jono Wafula and Sam Liversidge underpinned the victory.
Andy Ofosu won an early corner for the visitors with a curling shot that was going wide, but confused May into a diving save.
The resulting corner also caused problems for Athersley, and May had to punch clear of Higginson.
Worksop were enjoying the lion’s share of the early play, and a nice touch from Conor Sellars allowed Higginson to whip in an inviting cross that Ofosu just couldn’t reach.
Sellars won a free-kick that he himself took, 25 yards out, and although he got the ball up over the wall and down again, May produced a good stop.
Tigers were looking dangerous as the game approached the half hour mark, some one-touch passing releasing Higginson who could only shoot wide.
With his sights adjusted, Higginson didn’t miss the next one – Wafula doing brilliantly to beat his marker and cut the ball back for Worksop’s striker to control, spin and poke home.
Athersely had created little in the first half, but a long ball forward almost brought them an equaliser, Daniel Joynes getting in behind Ross Henshaw and shooting wide when he should have done better.
More joy for Wafula on the right gave him time to cross, May only punching as far as Sellars, and when he teed up Higginson the shot was deflected and saved.
Seconds later Phil Roe sent a shot goalwards that looked destined for the top corner, the goalkeeper making another vital stop.
Athersley began the second half in better fashion, not making any chances in the first few minutes but seeing more of the ball and drawing a foul from Wafula that earned him a booking.
Tigers were soon back on the attack though, Sellars tricking his way past two and struggling to get a shot off, Roe getting to the near post and seeing his shot saved.
The tide seemed to be turning in the host’s favour, with multiple free-kicks going their way much to the chagrin of Worksop boss Mark Shaw, and Joynes having another go at goal, Jon Stewart saving.
Nerves were calmed on 75 minutes however, Wafula again the provider with a cross from the right, Elliott capping a fine performance with a cool sidefoot volley into the bottom corner.
Substitute Kyle Jordan had a chance to add gloss to the scoreline, muscling his way through two defenders and getting all the way to the six yard area before floating the ball across goal and wide.
May kept his side in with a sniff with two fantastic late saves, first denying Jordan then Elliott as Tigers cut their hosts open.
There was nothing the keeper could do about Jordan’s low finish in time added on, but a linesman’s flag ruled it out and it stayed 2-0.
Athersley Rec: Neal May, Dane Hodgson, Kyle Cook (Callum Mackie 30), Daniel Monfredi (Alcock 77), Ryan Blackburn, Ryan White (c), Mathew Thompson (Levi Ripley 67), Mark Hydes, Daniel Joynes, Josh Moore, Kieran Scargill. Not used: Bennett, Tyas.
Worksop Town: Stewart 7, Wafula 8, Roe 7, Waddle 7, Liversidge 8, Henshaw 7, Sellars 6 (Hawkins 90), SCOTT 8, Ofosu 6 (Jordan 77), Higginson 7 (Adam 70), Elliott 8. Not used: Whincop, Ward.
Goals: Higginson 34, Elliott 75.
Yellows: Ripley 80; Wafula 55.
Referee: Robert Sherwood.
Assistants: Jason Collinson, Ricky Taylor.