Goalless stalemates put the brakes on Rollers’ title bid

PACKING A PUNCH  -- goalkeeper Jake Pearson, who made some crucial saves to preserve a point and a clean sheet for Hucknall Rolls Leisure
PACKING A PUNCH -- goalkeeper Jake Pearson, who made some crucial saves to preserve a point and a clean sheet for Hucknall Rolls Leisure

A second successive goalless draw applied more brakes on the championship challenge of frustrated HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE in the Notts Senior League’s Senior Division.

Seven days after a stalemate against Ruddington Village, Rolls were held again by another mid-table outfit, this time FC Cavaliers.

With their main title rivals, Kimberley Miners Welfare, picking up back-to-back 2-1 wins over the last five days, Jez Corthorn and Jonathan ‘Toddy’ Wass’s team now sit six points behind the leaders.

They both have nine games to play in total, but Rolls are also are being stalked by third-placed Selston, who trail them by just five points with three games in hand.

Most worrying for Corthorn and Wass was that, for the second game running, Rolls did not create any clearcut chances. Indeed they have now scored only one goal in their last three fixtures.

Jake Pearson was, by far, the busiest of the two goalkeepers, producing two point-blank saves in the final 15 minutes to preserve a clean sheet.

And coupled with some last-ditch defending, especially by man-of-the-match centre-back James Duncan, Rolls ended up relieved to return home with a point.

Duncan’s blocking challenge five minutes from time, when a Cavaliers striker had the goal at his mercy, was particularly vital.

The Rollers actually started the game quite brightly, keeping the ball well. But they couldn’t break down a stubborn home defence.

Their only half-chance fell in the 20th minute to Andy Start, who turned to shoot over the bar.

Cavaliers dominated the rest of the opening period, controlling the middle of the park and posing plenty of problems going forward.

In the second half, Rolls began to enjoy more possession but, again, they created little offensively, even though Kane Matthews found lots of joy down the left flank.

The home side continued to look the more likely side and will be disappointed not to have taken all three points.

Rolls must now pick themselves up and regain the winning thread to stay in the title race, starting with a home match against Magdala next Wednesday night.

In the meantime, they turn their attentions to the league’s senior cup and a big semi-final this coming Saturday against divisional rivals, Wollaton.

Wollaton sit as high as fourth in the table and held Rolls to a goalless draw in a league encounter just before Christmas. The winners will play either Magdala or Boots Athletic in the final.