BELEAGUERED HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE were satisfied with the way they faced up to their early-season mini-crisis on a Notts Senior League, Senior Division trip to Keyworth United.
Rolls considered the 2-2 draw as two more points dropped. But abandoning their 3-5-2 formation and reverting to a more orthodox 4-4-2, they looked much better organised and played some of their best football of the season.
And that was a big bonus after a traumatic week in which they had lost to local-derby rivals, Linby Colliery Welfare, and had been rocked by the departures of experienced key players Richard Harrison and Ash Marshall to Radford.
Young utility player James Needham also quit on the eve of the trip to Keyworth, preferring to concentrate on university football. So it was a very different-looking line-up that managers Jez Corthorn and Paul Jordan unveiled, with man-of-the-match Johnny Buckley and Aaron Short replacing Harrison and Marshall at the heart of the defence, youngster Mark Rollson in goal ahead of veteran Neil Waters and winger Daniel Poole among the substitutes after another return to the club.
Rolls got off to a poor start when Ian Marley bent a beautiful finish past Rollson.
But they began to take control and capitalised on a 20-minute spell of really good stuff by equalising — new skipper Kyle McDermott holding the ball up well and laying off for Alistair ‘Tolly’ Murray to plant a lovely strike in the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Several clearcut chances then went begging, most notably a couple for John Greeley and one for Billy Brooks. But Rolls deservedly went in front on the hour when Greg Conn bundled home a right-wing cross at the second attempt.
At this stage, three points looked certain, so it was a bolt out of the blue when Keyworth grabbed an equaliser 15 minutes from time.
A dubious free-kick was punted into the box and the ball squirmed out of the hands of under-pressure Rollson for Matt Chilvers to slam into the roof of the net.
ROLLS LINE-UP (4-4-2) — Rollson/ Paterson D., Buckley, Short, Tolley/ Conn, Brooks, Murray, Osborne/ McDermott, Greeley. Subs: Poole (for Greeley 62), Wallis (for Conn 70), Niblett (for Murray 76).