A superb penalty-save by goalkeeper James Beddingham was the highlight of HUCKNALL TOWN’S second win of the season against mighty Clifton All Whites in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
Town’s 1-0 success at happy Watnall Road, which followed a 2-1 win at Clifton in August, was praiseworthy on three fronts. One, it came against the defending champions. Two, it ended the six-match unbeaten run of the second-placed Clifton side. And three, it lifted Town into the dizzy heights of the top three in the table.
Striker Adam Nelson bagged the only goal in the 62nd minute, latching on to a three-man passing move, carrying the ball forward and flicking it round the advancing ‘keeper to send the large number of Yellows fans into raptures behind the goal.
However, sharing star billing was Beddingham after his heroics towards the end of the first half. Town felt the award of the spot-kick was “ludicrous” because midfielder James Rigg had his arms tight to his chest when they were struck by a powerful shot, only five yards away from him, But justice was done when Beddingham dived low to his left to push the penalty round a post for a corner.
Clifton could also have few complaints because The Yellows called the tune for most of the game and might have turned round in front. Dave Leak, Nelson and Leon Aikman all went close before the best chance saw a goalline clearance deny Cameron Davidson when he touched on a Ben Waplington corner.
Pressing high up the pitch, Town continued to chip away with half-chances, playing in a confident and patient manner that eventually brought them their breakthrough goal.
And they could have added more, with Nelson and Aikman having shots, Elliott Pitt curling a free-kick just too high, Waplington bringing a save from the ‘keeper and substitute Aaron Evans getting cynically hacked down when sent clear.
Delighted manager Andy Graves felt sure his side would have won even if Clifton had converted their penalty. “We were first-class from start to finishand played out the final minutes with much more composure than at Eastwood in midweek,” he said. “It’s three big points and another clean sheet.”
TOWN LINE-UP (4-5-1) -- Beddingham/ Henry J., Leak, Atkinson, Pitt/ Davidson, Robinson N., Rigg, Aikman, Waplington. SUBS USED: Harding (for Robinson), Evans (for Rigg).