Norma’s Dragon on brink of top-flight promotion

FEMALE manager Norma Hatfield is on the verge of guiding Hucknall side GREEN DRAGON into the Premier Premier Division of the NOTTS SUNDAY MORNING LEAGUE after a big local-derby win.

Dragon’s 5-3 victory over league cup semi-finalists THE HUCKNALL EMPIRE means that victory in their final fixture — another derby against STATION HOTEL (HUCKNALL) — on Sunday (April 29) will guarantee them the runners-up spot in Premier Division One.

They are almost certain to be promoted anyway because the top flight has only seven teams at present, leaving gaps for more than the usual two promoted clubs.

Hatfield is one of the few women managers of all-male teams in the entire country. But she deserves huge credit for the job she has done as Dragon boss over the last five years.

“The club started on the bottom rung of the ladder (under a different name), so to get to the top would be tremendous,” she said.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of all the players and I also thank those past members of the club who did their bit on the road to the top. Roll on next season!”

Four players — Kane Matthews, Matt Sisson, Jamie Taylor and Danny Taylor — have been with Dragon since the early days. And Matthews was the star of last Sunday’s win with a hat-trick that took him to the top of the Dispatch’s Specsavers goals charts.

Empire had beaten Dragon 4-1 earlier in the season. But this time, two early goals from Matthews made sure there was no repeat. The first was a shot that squirmed out of the ‘keeper’s hands on the greasy pitch, while the second followed good work by Matt Lucas.

Empire hit back to lead 3-2, courtesy of goals from Jason Tongue, Ian Jackson and Tom Coupe, which included a penalty and a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner. But Dragon bossed the second half as the home side tired.

A huge, route-one goalkick by ‘keeper Jamie Taylor found Lucas, who coolly slotted home. Winger Jonny Bernard pounced to put Hatfield’s troops in front. And then Matthews sealed the points with a spot-kick.

DRAGON LINE-UP (4-4-2) — Taylor J./ Allen, Sisson M., Neale, Crowson/ Bernard J., Haskey, Matthews J., Humphreys/ Matthews K., Lucas. Subs: Lewis, Brandley.

Meanwhile Station blew their slim hopes of promotion with a 3-1 defeat at home to Loft In Space, for whom Hucknall Rolls Leisure striker Matt Rick bagged a hat-trick. Danny Draycott scored for the locals.

HUCKNALL side PREMIERE TRAVEL face an anxious wait to see if they are crowned champions of Senior Division One — after winning 2-1 at Top Valley United in their last match.

Goals from Jake Bennett and Martyn Smith kept Premiere four points clear at the top. But second-placed Wollaton Pirates still have three games to play.

In Senior Division Three, THE NABB INN have completed their debut season in a creditable fifth spot after beating Beeston Biz Reserves 2-1 in their last game.

Steve Johnson and Aaron Thomas were on target.