Wet and windy it might have been -- but what a match dished up by local-derby rivals, HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE and BULWELL, in the First Round of the Notts FA Saturday Senior County Cup on Wednesday night.
And what a cracking performance by Rolls to upset the Bulls’ applecart and pull off a 3-2 victory with goals from the Allen brothers, Jack and Harry.
Both teams were missing key players. Rolls were even missing their holidaying manager Jez Corthorn and injured star man Jack Matthews, while Bulwell fielded teenagers Liam Towle and Kyle Nutt in their midfield, alongside new signing from Real United, Luke Attenborough.
Both teams also had to contend with a whistle-happy referee, who failed too often to take into account the slippery surface.
But few in the crowd who braved the weather could have moaned about the level of entertainment, with The Bulls offering few complaints at the end, fully accepting that Rolls deserved their win.
After a start in which the tackles flew and the tempers frayed, Rolls took the lead when Jack Smith turned his man on the halfway-line, advanced and fed Jack Allen, who curled in a shot from the edge of the area.
Bulwell stalwart Dwayne Soar equalised five minutes into the second half, taking advantage oi sloppy marking to head home a floated free-kick from Conor Carter. But persistent Rolls were soon back in front as Harry Allen was also handed a free header from a corner
The visitors looked capable of levelling every time they went forward. However, Rolls’s backline, in which James Duncan was superb, and midfield, where Jack James was a man-mountain, kept them at bay. And in the 75th minute, it was 3-1 when birthday boy Billy Brooks whipped in a peach of a free-kick for hard-working man-of-the-match Jack Allen, whose downward header crept over the line, with ‘keeper Matt Simpson stranded.
Bulwell pulled one back when Carter turned to blast home low. But they couldn’t force extra-time, although Felix Hogg drove just over the bar.