A SENDING off, some questionable refereeing and two hours of football failed to halt the Worksop Town unbeaten run last night.
Tigers booked their place in the next round of the Doodson Cup with a 3-1 win at Belper Town, despite going down to 10 men.
The result made it 11 games without a loss under Simon Clark.
The manager changed things yet again, with keeper Jan Zolna, defenders Chris Wood and James Cotterill, midfielders Matt Young and Sam Duncum, and striker Danny Davidson coming into the side.
Mark Hudson was given the night off, Jamie Jackson, Jon Worsnop and Luke Shiels dropped to the bench and Ash Burbeary rested a knock picked up on Saturday.
Worksop began in brilliant fashion, Duncum’s skill and pace creating a goal from almost nothing after just three minutes.
The winger jinked outside one player, inside another and found himself in the box, before shooting low past Andy Richmond at the near post.
The tie was almost settled four minutes later as Luke Sharry drove towards goal and sent a lovely shot over the keeper and against the right hand upright.
Some sloppy play in midfield from the visitors gave Belper their first half chance after a quarter of an hour, but Zolna was out quickly to clear from Jordan Turner’s feet.
Former Tiger Jon Froggatt then benefited from some wayward passing to have a blast at goal that was always going wide.
Luke Fedorenko, who previously featured in the colours of Worksop for the Under 19s, took advantage of yet more wasteful play in the Tigers half and his shot wasn’t far away.
Belper’s pressure deservedly brought an equaliser.
Jamie Smith’s ball through the middle allowed Turner to get the wrong side of Marc Roberts, the striker then cut back as he got to the box to leave Zolna off balance and finished low with aplomb.
Worksop got back on the ball and the link-up between Owain Warlow and Duncum troubled the hosts.
Duncum sent in a dangerous cross that was just too high for his team-mates, then had a shot from 12 yards that was well blocked, and when Massiah McDonald put the ball back in Davidson couldn’t get a strong enough touch.
The second half began with a scare for Tigers.
Damien Magee skinned Wood to get into the box, slid the ball to Smith and he shot off the top of the bar.
Zolna had to get down quickly to Aaron Pride’s fierce shot after the replacement ran onto an inviting ball into the Worksop box unmarked.
Both sets of players were incensed on 58 minutes when Roberts went in strongly on Fedorenko with his studs up.
The Belper man cried out and collapsed to the floor and his team-mates came running in to protest.
Referee Danny Gratton produced a red card with no hesitation and that drew a crowd of Worksop players, but the decision stood.
Two minutes later Warlow was haring down the left wing when Pride cut him down and seemed to go in high on the left-back, yards from the Tigers bench.
This time the referee produced just a yellow card, and then sent off Worksop manager Clark for dissent.
Luke Shiels came on for Davidson to partner Cotterill in the middle and despite being down to 10 men Worksop controlled the next period of play.
But the next goal should have gone to Belper’s Froggatt.
Scott Ellis, who had taken Fedorenko’s place, clipped a lovely ball into the box, Cotterill was only able to head it up into the air and Froggatt somehow headed wide from a few yards out.
Tigers signalled their intent to keep attacking by replacing McDonald with Jamie Jackson with 13 minutes remaining.
Shiels saw yellow for leaving Turner in a heap with a lunge as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
A lovely through ball from Duncum gave Allott the chance to have a pop at goal, and his effort almost squirmed under Richmond.
Seven minutes of time added on failed to separate the sides and the game moved into extra-time.
Seven minutes later, Tigers were ahead.
Jackson outpaced Richard Adams, seemed to lose the ball and then went down under the defender’s challenge - and although he didn’t appeal, the referee gave the striker a penalty.
Warlow stepped up for the spot-kick and sent it low into the left hand corner of the net.
It was almost 3-1 shortly after as Jackson skipped away and surprised Richmond with a low shot, the keeper making a superb instinctive save.
Froggatt sustained a shoulder injury towards the end of the first half and didn’t emerge for the second, leaving Belper with 10 men.
With Tigers dominating possession the home side began to tire and were caught napping at a throw-in allowing Duncum to race into the box and shoot, Richmond saving his side again.
There was nothing the stopper could do three minutes from time when the outstanding Warlow broke into the box with a lung bursting run, slid the ball back across goal and Jackson - who had stayed down from a knock sustained on a previous attack - was back on his feet to tap in.
Job done, momentum maintained.