THE PROMISING, unbeaten start to the new season by Hucknall Town has turned sour after defeats in their latest two Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South matches.
Town, relegated from the top flight last term, had begun the 2011/12 campaign with a 1-0 win at Romulus and a goalless draw at home to highly-fancied Leek Town.
But their second home match resulted in a 1-0 defeat against Brigg Town last Saturday and their second away match saw The Yellows fall 2-0 at newly-promoted Coalville Town on Tuesday night.
Hucknall’s problem is obvious — the lack of a cutting edge up front, which has yielded just one goal in 360 minutes of action.
However their cause was hardly helped at Coalville when midfielder Callum Lloyd was sent off after only half an hour in what proved to be the pivotal moment of the game.
The former Mansfield Town man was adjudged to have brought down Matt Moore as the home striker ran through on goal. And not only was Lloyd shown red, referee Scott Postin also awarded a penalty, which was drilled into the top corner by Callum Woodward to give Coalville the lead.
Earlier Yellows skipper Wayne Diuk had been fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after appearing to lash out at Ashley Wells. While goalkeeper James Lindley pulled off a trio of excellent saves to deny Nathan Jones.
So Lloyd’s dismissal meant the signs were ominous against a Coalville side who ran away with the Midland Alliance titler last season, bagging more than 100 points and firing 153 goals. They also reached the FA Vase final at Wembley.
However, to their credit, Hucknall made light of their numerical disadvantage and almost found an equaliser when Nathan Watson’s header was foiled by a magnificent save from Sean Bowles.
The first half ended with Jones striking the bar. But after the break, the impressive Yellows took control, with Watson and Jared Holmes instrumental in midfield.
Staying positive, they played most of the football, while Coalville relied on long-ball, route-one stuff.
Bowles produced a fine fingertip save to turn away a shot from Grant Ryan and then another superb stretching parry from a deflected drive by substitute Carl Westcarr.
Lindley excelled again at the other end but Coalville only just managed to keep The Yellows at arm’s length, particularly when another sub, Kieran Walker, peppered The Ravens’ goalmouth with a succession of huge throw-ins late on.
It was rough justice, therefore, that Hucknall’s efforts should be kicked in the teeth by a second Coalville goal in the dying seconds, sweetly struck by substitute Ryan Robbins on his first appearance for the club.