Hopes that HUCKNALL TOWN’S fine performance at Bulwell on Boxing Day would herald an end to their run without a win were resoundingly dashed two days later.
The ability to hold the Central Midlands League, South Division leaders to a draw counted for nothing when title-chasing Belper United visited Watnall Road last Saturday.
For Belper blasted four goals in a 21-minute first-half blitzkrieg on their way to a remarkable 6-3 triumph that left The Yellows nine games without tasting success.
Having already lost Sam Sims, Town’s engine-room was further weakened by the absence of Leon Aikman (at work) and Jeremy Moran (injured).
And their inexperienced, youthful squad for the game relied on no fewer than eight players under the age of 18.
Striker Adam Gilliott did have an early effort ruled out for offside. But then the home side capitulated as Belper’s superb strikers, Jordan McRobie, Luke Crosby and Sam Vickers, ran riot.
McRobie helped himself to four of the visitors’ six goals, including the opener when he volleyed home a Crosby knock-down on the edge of the area.
At the other end, Eugene Francis almost equalised -- only for Belper to respond with three more goals before the break.
First, Aikman’s ineffective stand-in, Nick Morgan, carelessly gave away possession to enable Vickers to cross for Crosby to net. Next, another Vickers cross was flicked in by McRobie, with Town’s shellshocked defence static. And then, a half-cleared corner fell for McRobie to smash home his third.
The second half opened with a glimmer of hope for Town when new striker Courtney Bonnick showed his class and vision by pouncing on a poor clearance from ‘keeper Adam Jablonski and chipping him from fully 40 yards.
But they were ruthlessly exposed from the restart as McRobie was given far too much time on the edge of the box to tee up a quality finish and make it 5-1.
Defender Cameron Davidson netted a couple more consolation goals for The Yellows -- a header and a right-foot strike -- and he even had the chance to complete an unlikely hat-trick when blazing over with his left foot in a goalmouth scramble.
But in between his goals, Belper scored again as 17-year-old substitute Jake Taylor was recklessly upended for a penalty that Vickers converted.
A bizarre afternoon’s entertainment ended with Town wasting three more chances. But the damage had been done.