THE Bassetlaw derby wasn’t pretty, but Tigers won’t care as they took three vital points with a 1-0 win.
Bragging rights weren’t exactly up for grabs given the differing plights of Worksop Town and Retford United this season.
The tenants, Worksop, are aiming to make the play-offs. The landlords Retford are rock bottom.
Despite a strong start from Tigers, who needed the win if their promotion hopes were to remain alive and well, the game drifted into long scrappy periods of poor play.
And the encounter will probably be remembered for a 15 minute delay after an injury to the referee.
There were surprises in the Worksop line-up, with Ben Tomlinson starting up front and Jamie Jackson on the bench - both previously having been injury doubts.
Mikel Suarez was rested, and Danny Bacon dropped to the bench.
A dubious free-kick to the visitors allowed Steve Brammer to loft the ball into the box and Nicky Ellis headed over early on.
Worksop’s first effort on goal came when Chris Bettney tapped a free-kick to Tomlinson, but the striker sliced his shot badly.
In the 10th minute Tigers had the ball in the net, Ryan Mallon finishing a lovely move with a back post tap-in, but a raised flag deemed him offside.
Two minutes later it should have been 1-0. Bettney released Tomlinson, he crossed to an unmarked Luke Beckett and the loan man had two chances to beat Dave Derwent, but his first was saved and his second blocked by a visiting defender.
Mallon dinked a shot over the bar after a nice one-two with Beckett, the hosts looking dangerous in possession.
The winger then played a tempting cross for Beckett, and the defence did well to clear.
And Beckett had his head in his hands again seconds later when Michael Simpkins split the back four with a great pass, the forward latched onto it and lobbed Derwent only to see the ball clip the bar.
Derwent saved with his legs as Tomlinson went in on him, the chances coming thick and fast in the first 20 minutes.
The next 10 minutes saw nothing in the way of opportunities for either side.
Sam Foulds blasted high and wide for the Badgers, who were winning their fair share of possession but struggling to do anything with it.
The home side suddenly looked short of ideas themselves, and had Foulds not missed the ball entirely following a Niall O’Brien long throw, Retford might have taken a shock lead.
Tempers frayed in first half injury time, Tomlinson and Simpkins both involved for Worksop and Michael Blythen for the visitors.
At half-time Martin McIntosh took the bold step to introduce forward Jackson in place of centre-half Simpkins in an attempt to get the elusive goal, leaving just three at the back.
After only a five minutes of second half play, the referee brought the game to a halt, and an appeal for a qualified referee was put out over the tannoy. Once a replacement official was found for the injured Mr Sutton, the newcomer took up a flag and one of the original linesmen took over as referee.
It was the visitors who started better after the delay, Blythen skipping away from two challenges and feeding Foulds who scuffed his shot into Jon Worsnop’s hands.
Tigers got going themselves, went up the other end and Jackson half volleyed wide of the mark.
The little forward then caused havoc in the Retford defence and laid the ball off to Tomlinson, but the top goalscorer blasted the ball well over.
Beckett was then foiled by the quick actions of Derwent when Jackson played a great cross into the middle.
And the keeper made a tremendous stop to deny Terry Barwick’s arcing volley from distance, palming the ball out for a corner.
Everyone in amber gasped in disbelief when Luke Shiels managed to head over when it seemed harder to miss than score.
Tomlinson then had a chance in the air, but his too was wide of the target.
But on 77 minutes a golden opportunity presented itself when the ball struck a hand just inside the Retford box, a penalty was awarded and Tomlinson made no mistake, slotting it home to the keeper’s right.
Only a minute later Beckett appeared to be fouled in the box, but this time no penalty was awarded.
It was very nearly two when Matt Young came flying onto a lay off on the edge of the area and absolutely leathered the ball just over the bar.
As the board went up to signal all the time added on after the delay, the game erupted in the corner.
Tomlinson was the subject of a foul, reacted angrily and engaged in a shoving match. The result was a free-kick to Tigers on the left touchline, and yellows for Tomlinson and Foulds.
Two minutes later Jordan Turner was shown the yellow for a swiping tackle on Wood.
Bettney appeared to injure his ribs and made way for Bacon late on, as the game ground to a halt.
Worksop: Worsnop, Shiels, Wood, Barwick, Cotterill, Simpkins (Jackson 45), Bettney (Bacon 90+6), Young, Beckett, Tomlinson, Mallon. Not used: Thompson, McIntosh, Billard.
Retford: Derwent, Robinson, Austin, Brammer, Ellis, O’Brien, Blythen (Scott 87), Knapper (Turner 72), Booth (Boggild 80), Foulds, Owens. Not used: Smith.
Referee: M.A. Sutton. Assistants: P. Dixon, T. Bramall.
Goalscorers: Tomlinson 77.
Yellows: Tomlinson 90+1; Foulds 90+1, Turner 93.