Shirebrook Town slumped to their third straight defeat after conceding the only goal of the game to Doncaster side Rossington Main at Langwith Road in the NCEL Division 1 on Wednesday night.
Both sides needed to give their season a kick-start after relatively poor starts to the campaign and Shirebrook included midfielder Daniel O’Donnell - newly signed from NCEL Premier Division outfit Arnold Town - on the bench, whilst central defender Scott Rushton made his first appearance in a Shirebrook shirt, filling in for the injured Lee Bowler, but also looking to secure a regular place in the side for himself.
Rossington Main had finished seventh last season after doing particularly well, and they must have been really disappointed that they had only managed to win one of the eight games they had played prior to this game.
Hence, both sides began the game in determined moods, but Shirebrook had the better of the opening exchanges with skipper Adam Walker and striker Jake Vernon (twice) going close to breaking the deadlock inside the first 20 minutes.
At the other end, Rossington’s first real chance fell to Adam Wisdom on the half-hour, but Shirebrook keeper Steve Boot was equal to the 20-yard shot.
And five minutes after that Boot was in action again, this time diving right to deny Jonathan Mirfin, although he could do no more than parry the shot and the ball might have gone anywhere, but instead it was cleared.
However, Shirebrook finished the goalless half strongly, but Rossington were better after the interval and they took the lead seven minutes after the restart when skipper Shaun Pendleton was left free at the far post to head the ball into the net off Bradley Billam’s corner from the right.
And that was a blow to the home side who then took a while to settle again as the visitors looked to consolidate their advantage, going closest on the hour through Mirfin, but keeper Boot was equal to the near post effort, with defender Paul Burgess on hand to clear up the bits.
Nevertheless, Shirebrook began to find their feet again with 20 minutes to go, but then livewire winger Antony Rowley was surprisingly replaced and that was very much to the displeasure of the player and a section of the home support, for Rowley had appeared to be one of the better players in the side, proving to be a constant threat to the visitors on their right.
And for a while the changes upset Shirebrook’s balance, and Rossington came back strongly whilst the home side struggled to reorganise.
But, with six minutes to go, Shirebrook almost snatched a deserved point when Rushton very nearly headed in at the far post off Walker’s corner from the left, but Rossington keeper Lee Appleby was quick to react, slapping the ball away from under the crossbar to clear what proved to be the final danger of the game.
Shirebrook Town: Boot, Burgess, L Jackson, Timons, Rushton, R Castledine (G Jackson 87), Rowley (O’Donnell 71), Walker, Vernon, Harrison (Clayton 57), R Cheetham. Subs not used: Parsons, A Cheetham.
Rossington Main: Appleby, Harte, Billam, Tunney (Spears 78), Jones, Pendleton, Fallan, Mirfin, Wisdom, Taylor, Clark. Subs not used: Hanson, Sidebottom.