Rolls hold unbeaten high-fliers Belper in six-goal thriler

OH DANNY BOY! -- centre-back Danny Hayes (yellow, left) rescued a point for Rolls with a 75th minute equaliser against Belper United.
OH DANNY BOY! -- centre-back Danny Hayes (yellow, left) rescued a point for Rolls with a 75th minute equaliser against Belper United.

Playing their part in a six-goal thriller, Hucknall Rolls Leisure held unbeaten high-fliers Belper United in their latest Central Midlands League, South Division game.

The match might have represented Rolls’s third successive draw, but the 3-3 outcome was no disgrace against a Belper side yet to lose in eight starts.

Now Jez Corthorn and Jonathan ‘Toddy’ Wass’s men will be confident of returning to winning ways this coming Saturday when they entertain struggling Collingham, who have lost seven of their eight games so far this term.

The entertainment in last weekend’s contest started from the very first minute when Rolls snatched the lead. Tigerish midfielder Rory Smith latched on to a fine pass by man-of-the-match Harry Allen and kept his composure to apply a cool finish.

Belper equalised only four minutes later when Nick Murray converted a teasing cross from the left flank, wrongfooting home goalkeeper Jack Walker.

But in a frantic opening spell, The Rollers regained the lead almost immediately. Good work by burly striker Jack Smith and wideman Kane Matthews set up Chay Bettridge, who sidefooted home.

Unfortunately, the home side failed to build on their advantage, and for the rest of the first half, they were guilty of giving away possession far too easily and allowing Belper to dictate play.

The inevitable outcome was a second leveller from the visitors before half-time as Shaun Roulston escaped his marker to head home from a set-play.

At the break, Rolls were reminded of their responsibilities, and they responded by keeping the ball for much longer periods than in the opening 45 minutes.

Nevertheless they suffered a setback in the 58th minute when Belper snatched the lead for the first time. The goal stemmed from a long ball from the back that the home team failed to deal with. In nipped Tim Perry to capitalise with a finish from 12 yards.

That wasn’t the end of the action, however. In the 75th minute, Rolls struck again to square the game up once more -- centre-back Danny Hayes rising at the far post to guide a clever header into the opposite corner of the net. And to the credit of both sides, neither seemed happy with a draw, attacking at every opportunity in the final 15 minutes.

For Belper, Sam Vickers went close after a surging run and shot. While at the other end, for Rolls, substitute Jack Allen forced the visiting ‘keeper into a smart save in the dying minutes.

After Collingham, Rolls also have a match next Wednesday night when they take on Pinxton at home in the league’s Floodlit Trophy (South Section).

ROLLS LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Walker J./ Conn, Hayes D., Duncan, Short/ Smith R., James, Allen H., Matthews K./ Smith J., Bettridge. SUBS USED: Manners R., Allen J.