Rain-defying Rollers edge closer to the top

JACK THE LAD -- the killer third Rolls goal was scored by Jack Matthews (left).
JACK THE LAD -- the killer third Rolls goal was scored by Jack Matthews (left).
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The only match in the Notts Senior League’s top flight to survive the stormy weather brought a welcome boost for title-hunting HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE.

Second-placed Rolls’s trip to bottom-of-the-table Sandhurst represented the game in hand they have over leaders Kimberley Miners Welfare.

And a cosy 3-0 victory took them to within two points of Kimberley ahead of two home matches in the next week against Keyworth United and Bilborough Town.

After a four-week lay-off because of the bad weather, The Rollers were delighted to hear the Sandhurst clash was on.

And considering all the rain that had fallen, the pitch at Walesby was in remarkably good condition, although a fierce wind made it extremely difficult for both sides.

Rolls started brightly and dominated the early exchanges without making their final ball into the penalty area count.

But with their star player, Cliff Clarke, pulling the strings in midfield, and the wind at their backs, Sandhurst proved to be no pushover and began to ask questions of the locals’ backline.

It took a quickfire blast of two goals inside five minutes either side of the half-hour mark to put Rolls in command.

First, Andy Start kept a typically cool head to apply a finish into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

And then Rolls Reserves’s top scorer, Reece Jackson, marked his debut for the first team by sidefooting home after good work by Start and Kane Matthews.

Even with the wind in their favour, Rolls struggled to find any rhythm in the second half.

But they remained on top, with goalkeeper Jake Pearson virtually a bystander, and they sealed the points 15 minutes from the end when Jack Matthews produced a sweet half-volley from inside the area.

In a crazy final five minutes, frustrated Sandhurst were reduced to nine men by a couple of red cards.

Goalkeeper Dan Abbott was sent off for foul and abusive language towards the referee, and then substitute Phil Oates was also dismissed for deliberately elbowing left-back Ash Marshall.