Worksop Town’s youngsters were dealt a lesson in clinical finishing on Saturday, but matched a Conference North side for an hour.
Tigers went down 5-0 at promotion hopefuls Harrogate Town, who took their chances well but only put the game beyond reach in the final 20 minutes.
A fiesty encounter saw Luke Shiels and Harrogate’s Adam Nowakowski engage in a couple of early spats, before the Tigers centre-half put in a vital last ditch tackle to deny Ryan Kendall a goal-scoring opportunity.
Jack Hawkins then made Luke Dean look silly with a clever flick and sidestep, and the home player was punished for his subsequent lunge.
Jack Barnett kept the scores level with an important block before Reece Twell had the visitors’ first effort on goal with a blast that was deflected wide of goal, and seconds later at the other end James Walshaw headed off target.
Shiels played his side into trouble in the 24th minute and it should have resulted in a goal, but despite having space and time in the area, Kendall’s shot was tame and saved.
A swift counter attack then saw Twell finding the overlapping Josh Morell and the left wing-back had his long range drive beaten out by Phil Barnes.
The stopper had to be sharp on the half hour mark too, getting down to his left to save Ryan Lee’s header.
Trickery by Hawkins and a mistake at the back released Chris Whincop, but with Barnes committed he shot wide.
Although Worksop Town were in their best period of the game, the home side went ahead – Dean getting in behind the defence on the right and slotting past Ben Gathercole.
It should have been 1-1 before the half-time whistle, but when Whincop found Twell in a great position his shot took a deflection and went wide.
The resulting corner found Shiels at the back post, and his marker put in a sublime defensive header.
Six minutes after the break Craig Nelthorpe had a golden chance to make it 2-0, but when Walshaw’s cross found him all alone at the back post he headed over.
The second goal did arrive on 62 minutes – seconds after the departure of Shiels and Hawkins – Walshaw getting the ball on the right side of the box and firing into the net.
Good play by Twell set up Morrell for a left footed attempt, and Barnes did well.
The story of the game was the difference in attack, Worksop missing chances and Harrogate taking them, and after Tigers squandered another, Louis Swain blasted in a third.
And seconds later Walshaw was left unmarked to rise and head home number four.
Only a goalline clearance by Jake Scott denied Harrogate a fifth, before Tigers boss Mark Shaw introduced himself.
Teenage goalkeeper Tom Jackson also got a run out, and there was nothing he could do to keep out David McGurk’s 88th minute header.