WORKSOP Town gave their new boss the perfect start to his tenure with a 3-0 win over in-form Nantwich Town.
Two goals for on loan Barnsley winger and Man of the Match Alistair Taylor on his debut, and a classy strike by Ashley Burbeary halted Nantwich’s run of six wins on the trot and delighted manager Simon Clark.
The victory handed Worksop Town their first points on a Saturday since the season began.
Poor communication at the back for Tigers almost allowed Sean Cooke to sneak in at the far post for an early goal, stopper Jon Worsnop relieved to see the winger’s effort go over after he was slow off his line.
With the conditions making life difficult for both sides, passes went astray at both ends, but a nice run from Burbeary took him into the visiting box where he lost control at the crucial moment.
Taylor played a tempting ball in for Jamie Jackson but the striker just couldn’t reach it and as Nantwich came back at Tigers striker Ben Mills was forced off for treatment after being bloodied in an aerial battle with James Cotterill.
Mark Hudson curled the ball just over with his left foot following good work by Taylor, seconds after Mills returned wearing a new shirt and a substantial head bandage.
Everyone inside Sandy Lane thought Tigers were going 1-0 up when Darren Moss’ back pass was short, Massiah McDonald nipped in and beat keeper Jonathan Brain, before firing wide of the empty goal in what was surely the miss of the season so far.
Nantwich front man Tom Urwin spared McDonald’s blushes with a shocking miss of his own.
Owain Warlow let him in at the back post as a high ball came across and Urwin volleyed over Worsnop’s goal.
A sweeping move on 36 minutes gave Worksop the lead.
Luke Sharry played a one-two with Taylor, fed McDonald who did well to keep the ball in and then his pass to Hudson was swept across the pitch to Burbeary.
The winger cut inside, danced around a challenge and curled a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
There was a let off for the hosts in first half stoppage time, as Cooke played a free-kick into the box and Cotterill let giant defender Matt Bailey go - but there was relief for Tigers skipper as the Nantwich man headed over.
The second half was just two minutes old when Worksop attacked through the front pair, Jackson was robbed of the ball but it broke to Taylor who set himself and curled a beautiful effort past Brain for 2-0.
After a couple of half chances Tigers made it even more comfortable.
They broke through Warlow, the full-back sent Jackson clear and although his cross was fluffed, McDonald reached the ball to send a shot at goal. Brain saved it, but Taylor picked up the rebound, beat a man and shot low into the net at the near post.
Nantwich, although shellshocked, came inches from pulling a goal back.
A corner from the left brought a decent stop from Worsnop and Luke Shiels nodded on to his own post before Bailey fired over.
Luke Sharry saw a deflected shot strike the corner of the post and bar, and relentless attacking from the home side took its toll on centre-half Bailey, the big man at walking pace with just under a quarter of an hour to go.
Everything seemed to be going Worksop’s way, including a cheeky back heel off his own goal-line by Cotterill.
But their gung ho attitude almost cost them with five minutes left.
Mills beat the offside trap to run clean through on Worsnop, the keeper did enough to force him wide and when the ball came back in Fraser McLauchlin sidefooted wide of the empty net.
Man of the Match Taylor was replaced by Sam Duncum in the final stages, Burbeary moving to the right as Duncum went left.
Sharry was also withdrawn, Joe Fox taking his place.
The post came to Nantwich’s rescue in the third minute of time added on, Jackson squaring to Duncum who wrongfooted the keeper but saw his shot come off the woodwork.
Worksop Town: Worsnop, Gardner, Warlow, Sharry (Fox 87), Shiels, Cotterill, Taylor (Duncum 85), Hudson, McDonald, Jackson, Burbeary. Not used: Roberts, Davidson, Zolna.
Nantwich Town: Brain, Lowe, Flynn, Maguire (Lennon 58), Bailey, Moss, Cooke, McPherson, Mills, Urwin (Adaggio 72), McLauchlin. Not used: Jack, Quinn.
Referee: M. Hutchinson.
Assistants: C. Hunter, M. Tinsley.
Goalscorers: Burbeary 36, Taylor 47, 59.