Worksop Town will require a miracle to win the NCEL Premier, after a devastating 2-0 defeat at home to Barton Town Old Boys.
Less than 24 hours after Shaw Lane Aquaforce went a point clear of Tigers with a win over Maltby, Mark Shaw’s men put in one of their poorest performances of the season and giftwrapped three points for their visitors.
Both goals came directly from Worksop errors, and if they’d played all night they probably wouldn’t have made amends – it was just one of those days.
It started well enough for the hosts, despite a swirling wind, Conor Higginson lofting the ball over keeper Rick Watson but also the bar.
The league’s top goalscorer Scott Phillips limped off after less than 10 minutes, pulling up unchallenged, replaced by Corey Mortimer.
A nice piece of skill from Higginson then won the hosts a free-kick just outside the area, Conor Sellars bringing a fine save out of Watson.
Higginson latched onto a high ball, brought it down brilliantly and under pressure poked straight at Watson.
A disappointing first half hour was compounded when Barton took the lead.
Sam Liversidge played the ball straight to Danny Chambers who only had Jon Stewart to beat – and that he did.
The visitors suffered another injury setback before the interval, Louis Kirk being helped from the field after landing awkwardly.
It wasn’t so much of a case of Worksop struggling to put passes together, they seemed incapable of trapping the ball, first touches flying here, there and everywhere.
Liversidge had a bad case of déjà vu when his poor pass put Barton in the clear again, Bradley Ricketts miskicking wide with Stewart out to challenge.
If the first half was bad, things got worse straight after the break, Tom Burgin failing to control a bouncing ball, Chambers running clear to slide the ball beyond Stewart.
A horrible afternoon for Liversidge, who took a shot to the face and clashed heads with a Barton defender, came to a halt when Mitch Husbands made his long awaited return from injury on 55 minutes.
Watson came to his side’s rescue when a half cleared corner was struck sweetly by Tom Elliott from 20 yards. It looked a goal all the way until the keeper came from no where to palm it round the post.
Having created both of Barton’s goals, Worksop didn’t look like creating clear cut chances for themselves, working the ball forward only to take the wrong option or lose out in a fair challenge.
Frustration showed in the late tackle that earned Elliott a yellow card, and the midfielder looked distraught when another speculative shot was deflected just past the post.
Injury time should have brought a Worksop goal, Chris Whincop thumping the ball off the post, Husbands seeing his effort cleared off the line and Ross Henshaw heading wide
The full-time whistle signalled the end of a bad day at the office, and most likely the end of Worksop’s 2014/15 title hopes.
Worksop: Stewart 6, Wafula 6, Roe 5, Henshaw 5, Liversidge 4 (Husbands 55), Burgin 5, Sellars 5 (Jordan 73), Scott 6, Ofosu 4 (Whincop 82), Higginson 5, ELLIOTT 6. Not used: Johnson, Cottingham.
Barton: Watson, Owen, Gowens, Belcher, Barlow, Ricketts, Norton, Kirk (Gill 37), Phillips (Mortimer 14), Chambers, Lattimore. Not used: Hartley.
Goalscorers: Chambers 30, 47
Yellows: Elliott 81; Norton 57, Gill 82
Referee: Mr M. Jones. Assistants: Mr M. Tinsley, Mr J. Middleton.