A spirited performance by HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE was not enough to upset free-scoring AFC Mansfield in the Notts FA Senior County Cup.
And foul weather also prevented Rolls basking in a bumper payday as rain and wind restricted the crowd to under 50.
In one of the most attractive ties of the First Round, Rolls -- runaway leaders of the Notts Senior League -- welcomed Mansfield, unbeaten in the Central Midlands League’s North Division.
The visitors, whose line-up included Hucknall Town’s FA Trophy final captain Chris Timons, were without several key players in a much-changed side.
But with Dean Rick helping himself to a hat-trick, they still inflicted a 4-0 defeat on a Rolls side missing influential trio Richard Harrison, Josh Haskey and Kane Matthews.
Not before a lively start by the home side, though, with Greg Conn’s surging runs down the right catching the eye and Jack James getting the better of the early exchanges in midfield.
With Mansfield struggling to get going, it was a pity that Rolls’s injury problems mounted when striker Chay Bettridge limped off with an ankle injury.
And as if to rub salt in the wounds, it wasn’t long before the visitors found their stride to take the lead. Quick footwork by Rick took a Joe Naylor pass and set up Callum Green, who drove his effort in off post from the edge of the area.
Naylor then turned creator, providing the pass for Rick, who raced into the box to round goalkeeper Jake Pearson for his first goal
Two-nil down, Rolls deserved credit for re-grouping and enjoying plenty of possession in the second half.
But led by Timons, Mansfield are an excellent side defensively and proved why they have conceded only two goals all season.
The visitors took control of the latter stages and, with Rolls visibly tiring, they doubled their lead to complete the win.
First, Rick finished neatly from a cross by Mark Carter and then, he dispatched a spot-kick, sending Pearson the wrong way, after he had been brought down by centre-back Aaron Short.
The scoreline was perhaps a shade harsh on Rolls. But managers Jez Corthorn and Jonathan ‘Toddy’ Wass took plenty of positives from the performance that should stand them in good stead for their league title challenge.