Worksop Town were beaten 3-2 by Clipstone in a pulsating and at times controversial first home game of the season.
Tigers never recovered from a horrible error-strewn start, but will highlight the referee’s failure to award what looked like a certain spot-kick in the second half.
The visitors have to take credit however, for being critical on the break and withstanding intense pressure.
There was an early disaster for the home side, Alec Denton clumsily catching Sam Liversidge and leaving him struggling in the very first minute.
Seconds later Phil Roe’s poor pass put Denton in on goal, and Liversidge pulled up when trying to give chase - Jon Kennedy having to make a fine save.
That was Liversidge’s evening over, Jack Waddle coming on as a fourth minute substitute.
Tigers couldn’t call on Jono Wafula, who was named as a substitute but refused to play, and after the game boss Mark Shaw said the defender’s time with the club was over.
Things got worse when another shocking pass, this time from Adam Ward, put Denton in again and when he squared it, Liam Nelthorpe was there to tap in the opening goal for Clipstone.
The visitors were almost in dreamland in the 17th minute, Denton running clear of the Worksop centre-halves and going past Kennedy, who brought him down.
But Tigers’ goalkeeper, who was lucky not to be sent off, made amends with a vital save, getting down to his left to palm Rob Paling’s penalty round the post.
From the resulting corner, Jamie McAllister’s header looked goalbound, until Kennedy intervened again.
The custodian was left furious and bewildered on 23 minutes, making a save after a scramble in the box, only for James Cottingham to knock the ball into his own net.
Worksop came agonisingly close to an instant response, Ward getting played in on the right, steadying himself and shooting past Steve Hernandez, only for the ball to come back off the post.
Shaq McKenzie’s strength and pace took him clear of Paling and he squared to Ward who in turn teed up Cottingham, the right-back’s shot deflected wide.
Tigers had started to get a grip on the game, and found a way back into it when Jamie Hadfield, still up in the box from an earlier attack, got the ball at his feet, controlled and finished smartly for his second goal in two games.
A flowing move down the right saw the ball reach McKenzie in the middle and he placed his shot straight at Hernandez when the equaliser looked imminent.
It was all Tigers in the latter stages of the half, although Clipstone could have nicked a third when a nice ball over the top released Jahmal Smith and only a perfectly timed Roe challenge halted him.
The second half started with another period of Worksop dominance, and very nearly a goal, Sellars clipping a ball into the box where McKenzie arrived, and saw his effort brilliantly saved by Hernandez.
Worksop huffed and puffed with little reward, and the frustration inside the ground grew when Cottingham ran into space behind the full-back, and seemed caught in two minds, his cross-cum-shot sliding past the far post.
Clipstone’s unhappiness with the referee resulted in a dismissal for manager James Colliver, the former Tiger expressing himself in terms the man in black deemed unacceptable.
In a further blow to the home side’s defensive corps, Hadfield went off holding his ribs and Mitch Husbands made his entrance.
And three minutes later he took the ball on the edge of the box, turned on a sixpence, controlled the ball and poked it past Hernandez for the equaliser, sparking jubliant scenes inside Sandy Lane.
Then came a minute of absolute chaos.
Smith’s delightful flick played in Adam Somes and he slammed it past Kennedy for a 3-2 lead.
But with Clipstone off the pitch over-celebrating, the referee allowed Tigers to kick off, and Husbands raced goalwards, only to be felled by one of the only Clipstone men on the field - but no penalty was given.
Another quick break gave Somes a chance to put the game to bed, and this time Kennedy was equal to the shot, palming it over the bar.
At the other end, Tom Elliott played in McKenzie and Hernandez made a brave block to deny the home side a late leveller.
Worksop: Kennedy, Cottingham, Roe, Woolley, Hadfield (Husbands 73), Liversidge (Waddle 4), Sellars (Higginson 67), Scott, McKenzie, Ward, Elliott. Not used: Wafula, Husbands, Jordan.
Clipstone: Hernandez, Paling, Trench, Nelthorpe, McAllister, Magee, Smith (Hodder 84), Finlaw, Nightingale (Royles 84), Ashmore, Denton (Somes 55). Not used: Jones, Colliver.
Referee: Mr A. Hull. Assistants: Mr D. Bradshaw, Mr L. Lazenby.
Goalscorers: Hadfield 33, Husbands 76; Nelthorpe 11, own goal 23, Somes 78
Yellows: Kennedy 17, Cottingham 23, Scott 90; Magee 87
Reds: Colliver 67