Clipstone found their scoring touch in the second half to romp to a 4-1 pre-season friendly victory at Central Midlands League Hucknall Town last night.
With several players unavailable again, Cobras manager Chris Millington had to shuffle his pack. But this was a much better balanced side with players coming in looking sharp and up for the battle.
The first half was all about the NCEL side’s possession and how they could coax Hucknall to allow them the space in which to play.
The home side were up for the challenge. Sometimes a little too up for it with a few tasty challenges.
One in particular would surely have seen a booking if it were a league or cup game.
Clipstone did well not to over-react and played their football.
It must be said they looked the better side but just missed that final ball to enable them to take the lead.
Once again Dan Wood was in the thick of the action when the Cobras were going forward, ably assisted by Blake Owen and Matty Ord.
The three of them looked lively and made the Hucknall defenders work overtime.
Ash Rawson, with Callum Mawby in midfield, were linking up well while the back four of Tom Carnall, Richard Mintoff, Stuart Hill and Andy Gange looked just as impressive.
It must be said that Hucknall did play their part in the first half too, making it difficult, sometimes by luck and sometimes by judgement, for the Clipstone boys to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
However, the opening minutes of the second half gave a big indicator to how this game was to be played out.
On 49 minutes Blake Owen picked up the ball just inside his own half and played a lovely ball for Dan Wood to chase down on the right edge of the box.
Wood beat his defender and shot across the face of goal, beating the keeper comfortably, only to see the ball come back off the far post to the feet of a more than relieved defender, who cleared the danger.
Hucknall managed to keep the Cobras out for an hour, but then the goals started coming thick and fast.
Callum Mawby passed the ball to Blake Owen who ran on with pace, frightening the life out of the defenders, and from 22 yards out found Dan Wood on the far edge of the six yard box, who calmly pulled back to allow Matty Ord to fire the Cobras into a well deserved lead.
Within two minutes Clipstone had doubled the advantage. This time Wood set up Owen to take Clipstone two goals to the good.
On 75 minutes though the only really sloppy piece of defending by Clipstone allowed Cameron Davidson to round keeper Nick Siddons and pull one back for the hosts.
That did not stop Clipstone in their tracks for very long as substitute Lewis Couley restored the two goal cushion with a fine solo effort from 18 yards out.
Then shortly before the final whistle, another substitute, Danny White, climbed highest from a corner by Ryan Hindley and looped his header into the far top corner from 12 yards out to complete a terrific all-round Clipstone performance.
Next on the pre-season schedule for Clipstone is Rainworth Miners Welfare at home on Saturday (3pm).