Hucknall Town made it six wins in a row as they beat Blidworth Welfare 3-2 at Watnall Road on Saturday.
It was plain sailing for Hucknall Town in the opening hour of the match but a Lewis Weaver brace for Blidworth Welfare made the closing minutes at Watnall Road very edgy for the Yellows.
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Tevhan Tyrell and Ben Jones’ first-half goals were capped off by a magnificent strike by Hucknall’s leading scorer Joe Ashurst. The three goals were enough to see the Yellows pick up the three points and remain within six points of league leaders Sherwood Colliery.
The opening 20 minutes of the match was largely uneventful with neither team troubling the men between the sticks.
The first chance of the match came from Hucknall centre-back David Leak who diverted an Ashurst corner marginally over the bar and saw the Yellows begin to take control of the match.
Hucknall’s increased goalmouth pressure was eventually rewarded on the 28th minute. Devante Reittie and Cayne Maxwell fought hard to maintain possession for the home side and gave the ball to recent signing Sam Sims.
The former South Normanton midfielder showed the quality he possesses by finding Mickleover loanee Tyrell amongst a sea of players. The lofted ball was inch-perfect as Bermudian Tyrell used the spin of the ball to lob Blidworth goalkeeper Josh Hollis.
Returning striker Adam Nelson nearly doubled Hucknall’s lead on the 33rd minute after Sims once again played the role of the catalyst and broke the Blidworth defence with a long ball over-the-top. Nelson only had the keeper to beat but couldn’t keep his composure and saw his shot launched over the crossbar.
Reittie was lively in the first-half and continued to trouble the Blidworth defence who began to tire before the half-time whistle. A cleared corner fell to the former Mansfield academy player and he struck the ball low and hard in to the six-yard-box where young defender Jones was waiting to tap in to the Blidworth goal minutes before half-time.
The second-half began where the first-half left off as Hucknall extended their lead to 3-0 when Ashurst produced the best moment of the match. Nelson collected a loose ball on the right flank and produced a cross which was too high and powerful to control and was too far out to head goal-wards. Ashurst was the recipient of the cross and hit the ball on the volley from the edge of the box; Watnall Road erupted in awe as the ball hit its target of the top right corner.
Despite a dominating hour-long display from the Yellows, Blidworth began to mount a comeback which started with a free-kick from 30-yards out. The ball was crossed in to the Hucknall box and after the ball struck the bar from an initial shot, Weaver was on hand to score the rebound.
Hucknall dug their heels in for the remainder of the game but could not prevent a 90th minute consolation for Blidworth as Weaver netted is second of the game. A long ball was flicked on by Jason Dawson which left Hucknall keeper Michael Randall no chance when he was met one-on-one with Weaver.
Hucknall boss Andy Graves said:
“I think we made life difficult for ourselves towards the end; the problem was we were uncomfortable.
“It was a game where Blidworth weren’t really threatening, Cayne (Maxwell) should have stood up instead of giving away a silly free-kick. I tell the boys every week, when you’re winning a game, you don’t want to give the opposition any encouragement.”
“I’m not surprised that Joe (Ashurst) scored that goal today, but he can also put one 50 yards over the bar from five yards. He’s got the ability to do what he did today and thankfully it proved to be the winner.”
“Sam Sims proved he is a quality player; we wanted to bring him in at the start of the season and although he decided to stay where he was then, when the opportunity arose he was up for coming here and produced a good performance today.