AN INCREDIBLE eight-goal blast by star striker Connor Carter left BULWELL only one point away from the Notts Senior League’s (NSL) Senior Division championship this week.
Hitman Carter fired a hat-trick to clinch a hard-fought 3-2 victory for Bulwell at Ruddington Village.
And he followed up with FIVE goals inside 20 minutes in a 7-1 mauling of hapless local-derby rivals HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE on Tuesday night (April 24).
With long-time leaders and closest rivals, FC Cavaliers, in apparent meltdown, The Bulls now know that just a draw in their last three games will wrap up the championship in a memorable first season for managers Steve Osborne and Terry Witts.
Cavaliers have failed hopelessly to recover from defeat at the hands of Osborne and Witts’s troops three weeks ago — and suffered their third reverse inside a month when crashing 4-0 at Keyworth United last Saturday.
Bulwell started their game against Rolls like a team on a mission — and almost went ahead when a free-kick from Carter swerved viciously, forcing veteran stopper Neil ‘Nelly’ Waters to tip the ball on to the bar.
The inevitable breakthrough came on 28 when Jamie Carter’s effort was saved and Josh Niblett, playing against his older brother Charlie, picked up the rebound for his first goal for the club.
The lead was doubled four minutes from the interval with another first of the season — this time from defender Chris Murdock, who embarked on a mazy run, cut inside and smashed home off a post.
But nothing was to prepare shellshocked Rolls for what hit them in the second period when Connor Carter took control.
On 52, he opened his account after good work by Jamie Moore. On 58, he clinically finished a pass by Murdock. On 61, he completed his treble from an unselfish pull-back by Moore. On 70, he coolly lobbed the advancing Waters from Moore’s through ball. And on 72, he capped a man-of-the-match display by pouncing on a short backpass to round the goalie.
Deflated Rolls did grab an 87th minute consolation goal when Matt Rick hammered a long-range effort past Jamie Wheat. But they were left to reflect on a thorough pasting, with assistant manager Paul Jordan praising Bulwell as “definitely the best side the NSL has ever seen”.
LINE-UP — BULWELL — Wheat/ Murdock, Walker J., Knight, Soar D., Carter J., King, Niblett J., Manders, Carter C., Moore. Subs: Gretton S. (for Manders 56), Keetley.
ROLLS (4-4-2) — Waters/ Niblett C., Hunt J., Marshall, Tolley/ Wallis, Wass, Brooks, Poole/ Greeley, Rick. Subs: Hulmes S. (for Niblett 70), Conn, Yates.
BULWELL were given a much stiffer test by Ruddington, who stormed into a shock two-goal lead in the opening half thanks to goals from Danny Johnson.
The lively Johnson struck after only 90 seconds and later dispatched a penalty after young full-back Jamie Walker had mistimed a challenge in the box.
Bulwell had struggled to create any chances of note — and felt the full force of a verbal volley from joint boss Witts at half-time. It duly roused them from their slumber and inspired a magnificent second-half show, capped by Carter’s treble.
First, he volleyed into the top corner when John Manders chested down a ball by Moore in the 56th minute. Next he rounded the ‘keeper from a pass by substitute Robbie England in the 65th minute. And 12 minutes from time, a pinpoint pass by Murdock was coolly finished by Carter for the winner.
BULWELL LINE-UP — Wheat/ Murdock, Walker J., Knight, Soar D., Keetley, King, Niblett J., Manders, Carter C., Moore. Subs: Carter J. (for Niblett 58), Gretton S., McCaffrey (for Moore 74), England (for Manders 74).