The hammer-blow of a red card after only 18 minutes failed to prevent HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE giving champions Clifton All Whites a serious scare in a seven-goal thriller at Green Lane.
Rolls’s game-plan went out of the window when they lost midfielder Jack James, who was sent off after getting involved in a bust-up with a couple of Clifton players on the halfway-line.
The scores were level at 1-1 at the time, but Jez Corthorn and Jonathan ‘Toddy’ Wass’s newly-promoted outfit continued to give as good as they got before eventually falling 4-3 in a match that was a credit to the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
In fact, it’s testimony to their efforts that, in the end, they were disappointed not to gain something from the game after conceding some sloppy goals.
Twice they led -- initially in the 14th minute when Ash Marshall nodded home from eight yards after a cross by Kane Matthews.
Clifton levelled three minutes later when Greg Conn failed to control a throw-out by ‘keeper Jack Walker, enabling Connor Hardy to drive at the defence and drill into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
But even after being reduced to ten men, Rolls restored their advantage as Jack Smith tapped home after chasing down a backpass that the home ‘keeper miskicked.
It was 2-2 five minutes later when Hardy’s cross was headed home by unmarked former Bulwell striker Scott Litchfield. And 13 minutes into the second half, Clifton led for the first time as Craig Anderson pounced on a poor attempted clearance by centre-back James Duncan.
But with Jack Matthews and Rory Smith working tirelessly in midfield, Rolls refused to buckle and equalised on 78 when defender Marshall headed home his third goal in two matches.
Litchfield did bag Clifton’s winner six minutes from the end. But even then, the Hucknall side could have snatched a point, forcing the ‘keeper into two quality saves in injury-time -- first from a thunderous drive by Aaron Short and then from a header by Conn.