An early missed penalty failed to knock ATHLETICO T8’S off course in a ding-dong Hucknall derby against AFC H2O in the NOTTS SUNDAY MORNING LEAGUE.
For Athletico recovered to post a terrific 3-2 victory to join their mid-table rivals on the sane number of points in the Premier Second Division.
The visitors looked sharp from the off and should have gone in front when Martyn Smith was upended in the box by H2O skipper Martin Richardson in the 15th minute.
Max Thornley’s well-struck spot-kick was saved by home ‘keeper Richard Hallam, parrying the ball out for a corner. But H2O’s reprieve was only shortlived because, moments later, a fine move down the left led to Ryan Orton forcing the ball home.
Athletico doubled their lead two minutes from the interval when Aidan England rose well to meet a superb cross. And although H2O created lots of chances to get back into it, they found visiting ‘keeper Mark Dennis in inspired form.
The home side finally pulled one back in the 65th minute when Richardson relinquished his defensive duities to roam forward and fire home after swapping passes with Paul Prewett.
But Athletico soon restored their two-goal cushion as Brown’s astute lob caught the ‘keeper out of position, and they held on despite a second goal from Richardson for H2O late on.
THE hopes of Hucknall sides BARFLYS H20 and GREEN DRAGON climbing the Notts Sunday Morning League, Premier Premier Division table were damaged by defeats.
Bottom-of-the-table Barflys crashed 7-1 at second-placed Old Colonial, despite a goal from Ben Samuels. But at least Dragon showed plenty of character in a 3-2 defeat at home to Trentside.
Because of injuries, Norma Hatfield’s side could field only ten players. Yet they led 1-0 and 2-1 before succumbing to a couple of late goals.
Young Martin Lester gave Dragon their first lead, following up a curler by man-of-the-match Danny Taylor from outside the box that was spilled by the ‘keeper.
And after Romaine Graham had converted a penalty to equalise early in the second half, defender Rob Neale popped up from a corner to restore the locals’ advantage.
Only when tenacious Dragon tired in the closing stages did Trentside finally get on top of them, pinching the points with strikes from Justin Edwards-Clarke and Hucknall Town man Eugene Francis.
The display gave Hatfield confidence ahead of the local derby against league champions T8’S this coming Sunday -- providing she’s able to call upon a full-strength squad again.
DRAGON LINE-UP (3-2-3-1) -- Smith B./ Clarke, Neale, McPhilbin/ Sisson, Taylor D./ Lester, Haskey, Bernard J./ Matthews K.
EMPIRE clinch the Notts Sunday Combination title -- SEE PAGE 50