Record-breaking Worksop Town attracted a crowd of four figures for the first time in 13 years — and they did not disappoint them.
The Tigers secured their 12th straight win — a new club record — with a 2-1 success over Penistone Church to go nine points clear at the top of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
And they were roared by the majority in a remarkable 1,628 crowd — the biggest ever for a competitive match at Sandy Lane and the highest ever NCEL attendance on record.
Craig Mitchell exchanged passes with Steve McDonnell in the sixth minute before giving Worksop the perfect start.
Eight minutes later Matt Sykes crashed home a 30-yard left-footed strike to double the advantage with his 27th goal of the season.
The Tigers’ healthy half-time lead was halved 11 minuts from time by Andrew Ring, but the home side held firm in the closing stages — helped by fine saves throughout from keeper Dave Reay — to take another step towards possible end-of-season success.
Manager Craig Denton said: “The first couple of minutes were a little bit edgy, but then we came out of the blocks.
“We made sure we were on the front foot. We got two goals although I thought the first half was quite an even game.
“We knew Penistone would come out flying (in the second half), which they did and we had to ride our luck a little bit.
“They got a goal, which they deserved as we dropped off, but then we rode it out.”
Denton was full of praise for Sykes’ spectacular goal and prolific season.
“He gets himself into those positions,” he said.
“He does really well. He had a couple of chances later on in the second half where I would have put my house on them going into the back of the net.
“He has been excellent for us with his left foot.
“He likes getting at players and getting shots off early.
“So we are delighted with his goal.”
Denton also praised the “excellent” Reay for his vital contribution to the victory.
“He organised the back line (well) and came and collected everything. That’s also testament o the two in front of him who have been fantastic.
“The momentum of the lads now is crucial. It is important we keep it going.”