Two late goals for the home side helped make it back-to-back wins for recently-appointed Shirebrook Town managers Mark Camm and Danny Bacon, in-form Doncaster-based visitors Rossington Main sent packing with nothing at all to show for their afternoon’s work in a 2-0 defeat at Langwith Road on Saturday.
Rossington had arrived for the game unbeaten in their previous nine outings, Shirebrook the last team to overcome them with a 2-0 midweek win in the reverse fixture at the Welfare Ground way back at the beginning of December.
With eight of those nine unbeaten games ending in wins for Rossington, the mid-table visitors must have fancied their chances of extending their impressive run under manager Steve Brennan, the former Scarborough Athletic Reserves head coach who had only been in charge for a few days at the time of that last defeat of the then relegation-threatened side.
But it was sixth-placed Shirebrook who began this game the better, although Rossington had the advantage of the slope and were first to find the target, skipper Lee Holmes making relatively easy work for keeper Sam Andrew from 25 yards with five minutes gone.
The visitors were mostly on the back foot after that with central defender Ross Henshaw, skipper Craig Getliff and striker Henry Sibenge all working Adam Stevens in the Rossington goal over the next 15 minutes.
Shirebrook continued to press and had shouts for a penalty waved away when Sibenge went down under a challenge in the visitors’ box just after the half-hour, before another 10 minutes of pressure on the Rossington goal failed to bring any reward for the home side.
Shirebrook were almost left to rue that as the visitors finished the half strongly with Holmes, Tom Bennett and then Holmes again all going close for Rossington before the half-time whistle.
So there was still all to play for at the turnaround, but the home side made the better of the early exchanges in the opening 10 minutes of the second half with Sibenge twice heading over from eight yards and then10 yards, before heading wide of the far post from Ricky Hanson’s corner on the left.
However, it was Rossington who then went the closest to breaking the deadlock, Shaun Pendleton only denied by the upright after curling a sweet shot from 25 yards that had Andrew in the Shirebrook goal well beaten high to his right just after the hour.
That signalled the start of a good 15-minute spell for the visitors that again almost ended with a breakthrough in their favour when a poor clearance by Andrew fell to Pendleton 40 yards out and his first time effort very nearly found the target with the Shirebrook keeper still scrambling to get back onto his line.
Nevertheless, the home side still had a bit more left in the tank and Getliff went close from 20 yards with nine minutes to go, before 68th minute substitute Tom Mullen gave Shirebrook the lead four minutes later.
It came when Stevens in the Rossington goal could only parry Grant Ryan’s low shot from 20 yards on the right after it took a deflection and Mullen was first to react, firing the rebound into the visitors’ net from six yards.
A former favourite at Langwith Road with 13 goals last season under Mark Shaw, Mullen had only just re-signed for Shirebrook for a second time this campaign, his transfer from NCEL Premier Division outfit Staveley Miners Welfare completed in the hours before kick-off, just in time for the game.
It must have been a blow for Rossington to go behind so late in the game, after looking like they would at least hang on for a draw to keep their unbeaten run going.
But two minutes later it got worse for the visitors when Ryan added a second Shirebrook goal, half-volleying the ball into the net at the far post after Sibenge picked him out with a cross from out wide on the left.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for frustrated Rossington, they were reduced to 10 men a minute after that when Steve Etherington was given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card of the game.
The visitors looked well beaten in the end and, in truth, the win was arguably no more than the home side deserved based on their better performance over the whole 90 minutes.
Next up, Shirebrook travel into West Yorkshire next Saturday to take on Leeds-based outfit Yorkshire Amateur.
SHIREBROOK TOWN: Andrew, Pride, Hanson, Booth, Wankiewicz, Henshaw, Hall (Claridge 60), Getliff, Ryan, Sibenge, Rowley (Mullen 68). Subs not used: Bacon, M Camm.
ROSSINGTON MAIN: Stevens, Hart, Richardson, Fraser, Etherington, Fielding, Bennett, Hunter (Johnson 71), Holmes, Pendleton (Holden 81), Rudd (Niner 87).
REFEREE: Paul Tomes of South Yorkshire.