THE SCRAMBLE by Hucknall Town to escape the grips of the relegation zone in the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik League is suddenly showing plenty of SIX appeal.
For the Yellows leapt out of the bottom four courtesy of a 6-1 rout on Tuesday night (April 5) of fellow strugglers Ossett Town, who had no answer to Hucknall hero Grant Ryan, who smashed in FOUR goals.
After a torrid run of form since the turn of the year, in which they failed to muster a win in 13 league games, Hucknall boss Tommy Brookbanks found himself embroiled in a relegation dogfight in his first season in charge.
But in recent weeks, they have taken ten points from their last five games, culminating in the destruction of Ossett, who actually took the lead inside five minutes.
In the aftermath of the morale-boosting win at Ossett, the Hucknall chief said: “It was an excellent performance. We ran riot in the second half and could have scored 12.”
Assistant boss Gary Stones added: “It’s about time we did that to someone. The result was excellent and, after the first 15 minutes, the performance was excellent.”
In front of just 73 fans at Ingfield, The Yellows were too good for Ossett, and in turn sent the West Yorkshire side spiralling closer to the drop.
For, while second-bottom Ossett have five games to bridge what is currently an eight-point gap to safety, Hucknall moved up to 17th place, three points clear of the relegation-zone.
Their six-goal haul also improved their goal-difference which, at minus 14, is the best in the bottom six.
The Yellows have another relegation ‘six-pointer’ on Saturday (April 9) at home to Burscough.
Stones said: “We have got to do the same. We cannot get complacent now. We are looking for another four points.
“We have Burscough tomorrow and Bradford Park Avenue on Monday night. We want it (safety) tied up before we take on Carlton Town in the Senior Cup semi-final on April 20.”
Against Ossett, recent signing Ryan was the star man, but flying winger Anthony Griffith Junior ran him close for the man-of-the-match award with a scintillating display.
Stones said: “Anthony was outstanding. He was really on form. When he is on fire like that it gives the rest of the team a lift.
“Grant is loving it here at the moment. We will be looking to sign him at the end of the season.”
The Yellows were sluggish in the first 15 minutes and their hosts took advantage when Ryan Laight netted in the fifth minute.
But the locals knuckled down after a telling-off from Brookbanks and equalised on 25 when Ryan headed home a James Jepson free-kick.
They took the lead on 38 after a move involving seven players ended with Tyeisse ‘TJ’ Nightingale backheeling a Fabian Smith cross into the net.
It was 3-1 on 62 minutes when Griffith Junior swept in a penalty. The winger won the spotkick himself after beating four men and being hacked down by the fifth.
The floodgates opened six minutes later as Ryan drifted past three opponents before smashing home. He completed his treble on 81 when tapping in a Jared Holmes centre, before adding his fourth on the cusp of the final whistle in similar circumstances from a Callum Lloyd pass.
The Yellows also hit the crossbar twice through Holmes and Nightingale, while Lloyd struck a post with a stinging drive.
After Burscough and Bradford, The Yellows face three tough league games against Matlock Town, Colwyn Bay and Worksop Town to conclude their season.
Stones said: “It will be a tough one at Bradford, but we have played them twice so we know what they are all about.
“I can see us getting a result off Colwyn Bay. They will have one eye on the play-offs. They were decent early in the season when we played them, but they are beatable. They are a good, hard-working side.”