A brace from Sam Scrivens saw Matlock Town beat the ten men of Worksop to advance to the Integro League Cup quarter-finals at Sandy Lane on Wednesday night.
All of the goals came in the opening 12 minutes in a game which threatened to produce an avalanche of goals and Matlock will be particularly disappointed not to add to their tally with the Tigers having striker Craig Mitchell sent off after 20 minutes for elbowing Adam Yates.
Matlock failed to convert a glut of opportunities in the opening half, Tigers goalkeeper Zac Walker being in outstanding form, but there were also some bad misses thrown in.
The second period was an anti-climax as far as Matlock were concerned, the flowing football of the first 45 minutes lacking and it led to a nervous finale for the visitors when the game should have comfortably been put to bed.
Matlock gave a debut to Jake Greatorex between the sticks with regular number one Jon Stewart having been injured at work.
Both sides started brightly but it was Worksop who drew blood in the fifth minute. The tricky James Gregory dribbled deep into Matlock’s defensive territory before releasing Freddy Tracey to tuck a low shot under Greatorex.
Worksop’s joy was shortlived as the Gladiators’ response was instant, it being within 30 seconds that Scrivens netted with a 20-yard bullet effort low into the far corner after running in from the left for a magnificent equaliser.
Walker began his heroics with a point blank stop from Marcus Marshall who was not picked up by a sleepy home defence from a right wing flag kick.
Another corner, again from the right, would see the visitors go in front, Scrivens forcing the ball in after an untidy scramble, Walker having initially done well to block from Marshall.
Mitchell’s dismissal looked to have handed the initiative to Matlock, that proved to be the case for the rest of the first half.
Eliot Goldthorpe’s free-kick dropped to Marshall whose shot produced a fine stop from Walker before Scrivens was inches away from converting a cross from the left by Dan Bramall.
Worksop, despite the numerical disadvantage, were fighting hard and while Matlock could not add to their lead, they were still very much in contention.
Tague turned smartly to shoot narrowly wide before Walker made two great saves within seconds, Marshall and then Ben Gordon looking to the heavens in disbelief as Walker kept their shots out.
Soon afterwards it was Walker versus Marshall again, twice in fact, with the goalkeeper once more winning the duels. Matlock ought to have been at least 4-1 in front at the interval.
Walker again excelled five minutes after the restart, pushing behind another power packed drive by Gordon, but then frustration set in amongst the Gladiators players and fans as the visitors lost their way.
A 67th minute free kick from Brian Wilson was deflected over and Dwayne Wiley headed a 75th minute corner inches wide.
Substitute Chib Chilaka sent a late effort bouncing narrowly beyond Walker’s left hand post but their below par second half showing gave Worksop unexpected hope of saving the tie.
The Tigers won an 89th minute free-kick a couple of yards outside the box, but the concern evaporated into the Bassetlaw night sky as Matt Sykes lifted his shot yards over the bar.
But the final whistle soon followed, Matlock having made hard work of a tie which ought to have seen them win convincingly.
Worksop: Walker, Karkach (Brunt 80), Pemberton, Woolley, Atherton, Rhodes, McDonnell, Brownell, Mitchell, Tracey (Sykes 68) Gregory (Jordan 87). Not used: Kay, Beaumont.
Matlock: Greatorex, Yates, Gordon, Wilson, Wiley, Gooda, Bramall (Valentine 78), Goldthorp, Marshall, Tague (Chilaka 58), Scrivens (Crouz 66). Not used; Dean, Poole.
Ref: Ben Tomlinson (Rotherham)