Let-off for birthday boy

JACK ALLEN -- man-of-the-match performance
JACK ALLEN -- man-of-the-match performance

A missed penalty by birthday boy Ash Marshall failed to prevent HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE shooting up to fourth place in the Notts Senior League, Senior Division table.

Marshall, who turned 30 on matchday, saw his respectable 36th minute spot-kick well saved, low to his right, by the ‘keeper, who turned the effort round a post.

But Rolls were already 2-0 up at the time against Ruddington Village and went on to record a fine 4-2 victory -- even though they were without no fewer than five players who started in the midweek win over Kimberley Miners Welfare four days earlier, plus manager Jez Corthorn, who was on a mid-season break at Center Parcs.

Although Rolls didn’t match the impressive football of the Kimberley success, the attitude and effort of the makeshift side were spot-on,

Marshall, Matt Rick, Jack James and Danny Bainbridge were among those who returned to the line-up, while Dan Lee was one of four players in the squad stepping up from the club’s buoyant reserve-team.

Rolls were in front from the 13th minute when a mix-up between Ruddington’s centre-half and goalie allowed Jack Allen to nip between them and slot home expertly from a tight angle.

Man-of-the-match Allen did the damage again ten minutes later when pouncing on a half-cleared corner and smashing into the corner of the net.

And as he continued to prove too hot to handle, it was Allen who earned the penalty when fouled in the box.

Marshall’s miss mattered little because within minutes, James rose at the far post to head home Lee’s corner with the help of a deflection to make it 3-0.

Rolls got sloppy either side of half-time, gifting a couple of goals to the home side through Tristan Rhodes, who finished moves fashioned down the left.

But the two-goal cushion was soon restored when Lee unleashed a trademark, late burst into the box to strike a sweet volley into the corner.

With James and Bainbridge gelling well in the middle of the park, the only downside to the display was an injury to Lee, who sustained a nasty gash to the head when attempting a diving header.

Rolls have played more matches than the teams around them. But they still have ten to play and retain a live chance of finishing runners-up in the table.

ROLLS LINE-UP (4-4-1-1): Pearson J./ Hulme S., Short, Duncan, Tolley/ Rick, Bainbridge, James J., Marshall/ Lee/ Allen J. Subs: Rodgers (for Lee 65), Tring (for Bainbridge 72), Thomas (for Tolley 83), Jackson.