Buoyant BULWELL tuned up for their acid test against tabletopping Mickleover Royals this Saturday by continuing their revival under new boss George Hulley.
The Bulls put a poor first-half performance behind them to win 3-1 away to Real United in the Central Midlands League, South Division, despite missing two late penalties.
It means they are one of three clubs now only a point behind Mickleover, and although the Derbyshire side have lots of games in hand, they have not kicked a ball in anger since the end of November, because of postponements, giving Hulley’s side high hopes of becoming the first team to beat them.
After a three-week break, Bulwell themselves looked decidedly rusty in the opening 45 minutes at Real, although a strong wind and a choppy, sodden pitch also contributed to the uninspiring action.
Judging by his bellowing from the touchline, Hulley was not happy -- and he ensured his players went out for the second period with a totally different attitude.
Within five minutes, they were ahead as Lewis Wheelhouse netted from close range after the ‘keeper could only parry a Conor Carter free-kick. And six minutes later, top scorer Jake Fisher added a fine individual effort, skipping past three defenders before having the composure to slot home.
Real halved the deficit in the 72nd minute when wayward distribution by substitute Tyler Smeed enabled Reece Bartram to find the top corner. And Bulwell’s nerves became frayed by the spot-kick clangers after Fisher was twice upended in the box. First Fisher himself saw his penalty saved and then Carter blazed one high and wide. However, the points were sealed on 86 when Daniel Chadwick smashed home from 20 yards.
BULWELL LINE-UP (3-1-4-2) -- Simpson/ Whitehead, Knight, Richardson/ Wheelhouse/ Towle L., Chadwick D., Kemp, Roberts/ Fisher, Carter C. SUBS: Smeed (for Kemp 67), Stone (for Roberts 67), Nutt (for Carter 83), Saunders, Soar D.