THE FIREWORKS were provided by seven goals and two red cards as holders Bulwell progressed into the Second Round of the Notts Senior League (NSL), Senior Cup with a 5-2 victory over FC Cavaliers.
Reigning league champions Bulwell looked to be cruising at 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick from top scorer Scott Litchfield.
But with just 12 minutes remaining, tempers flared when a nothing challenge on Connor Carter sparked the Bulls man to react with a similar tackle on his opponent, Shanus Turner.
Both kicked out at one another and although neither connected, the impressive Andy Rolph gave both their marching orders.
Jay Knight was then caught napping and Cavaliers snatched a lifeline goal before doing their best to force the game into extra time.
But with time running out, experienced substitute Allan Jeffries finished off a pinpoint Jamie Moore through ball to seal the tie.
Earlier, Bulwell had started the better with Knight and Carter going close but the action went stale before Litchfield netted from 12 yards seven minutes before the interval.
The Bulls made a change at the break with Jake Keetley replacing Josh Niblett and six minutes in, Ross McCaughey provided the ammunition for man-of-the-match Carter to make it 2-0 with a superb low drive that had the keeper rooted to the spot.
Litchfield soon made it three when rounding the ‘keeper and slotting home from an acute angle.
Jeffries replaced Ryan King on the hour mark and with The Bulls reverting to a 4-3-3 formation, Cavaliers began to penetrate down the flanks and on 65 reduced the deficit with an excellent strike from Ash Macpherson into the top corner.
The locals rallied and added a fourth on 72 with Litchfield netting his hat-trick from a tap in after the home ‘keeper flapped at an up and under.
Despite the blot on the copybook with the Carter dismissal towards the end, Bulwell were good value for their victory as they seek a second successive league and cup double.
n BULWELL LINE-UP — Wheat/ Murdock, McCaughey, Jay Knight, Soar D., Moore, King, Niblett J., Litchfield, Carter, Vipond. Subs: Keetley (for Niblett 45), Ward (for Litchfield 72), Jeffries (for King 59), Jamie Walker (not used).