The first of 12 derbies in a fascinating season left HUCKNALL TOWN oozing confidence that they can remain the rightful holders of local bragging rights.
As Town have slipped headlong down the non-league ladder in recent seasons, even their status as the Hucknall district’s number one team has come under threat.
But a 5-1 spanking of across-the-road neighbours HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE last Saturday left no-one in any doubt about the quality of manager Andy Graves’s rebuilding job.
Equally, it was a rude awakening for Rolls at the start of their debut season in the Central Midlands League’s South Division after promotion from the Notts Senior League. They knew it would be tougher, but didn’t quite expect this.
Said Graves: “We did our homework and changed our formation to exploit Rolls’s weakness at the back.”
It worked a treat because, within 25 minutes, Town were two up thanks to goals from new striker Aaron Evans.
First, Evans looped in an acrobatic bicycle-kick from the edge of the area, and then he turned in a cross after a surging run by midfielder Nathan Robinson.
Rolls continued to battle and always looked dangerous from set-pieces.
But they leaked a third goal just before half-time when Elliott Pitt’s corner was headed on by Matt Clowes and flew into the net off home defender James Duncan for an own goal.
And when Town netted a fourth on the hour -- Pitt volleying a shot across the ‘keeper after fine work by Cayne Maxwwell -- it was game over.
Shellshocked Rolls refused to give up and pulled one back with a low drive from Chay Bettridge after Town had switched off, protesting for a foul.
However, after a ten-minute spell of home pressure, Town had the last word with a fifth goal fashioned by two substitutes. Niall Williams darted past his a defender and delivered a superb cross that Nick Morgan took in his stride and crashed into the roo f of the net.