Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United, eat your hearts out!
If they thought the resurrecction of a three-man backoine was a philosophy unique to them at Old Trafford, they can think again.
It’s a little-known fact -- and he’s too modest to shout it from the rooftops himself anyway -- but Jez Corthorn, man ager of HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE, has been playing three at the back for some time now. And with considerably more success than Van Gaal at United!
Corthorn’s 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 formation won his side the Notts Senior League Cup, and promotion, last season.
And it’s serving him fine so far in their debut season in the Central Midlands League’s South Division -- judging by their latest result .
Yes, they fell one down after only 17 seconds and two down after only 17 minutes.
But they recovered admirably to pinch a 2-2 draw from Belper United, who started the day and finished the week as league leaders.
The outcome completed a return of two wins, two draws and two losses from the opening six matches in Rolls’s new sphere. And the only real blip was the 5-1 pasting they were given by Hucknall Town two weeks ago.
Town followed up that result by holding Belper, so The Rollers had every right to feel trepidation as they travelled to Christchurch Meadow, especially as they were without Rory Smith (unavailable) and Chay Bettridge (injured).
The fear factor increased when a 20-yard drive from Ryan Wheatcroft flew in off a post to give Belper the lead.
And it doubled when Joe Conkleton found space in the 18-yard box to finish with aplomb, while sloppy Rolls were still appealing for a foul throw.
In truth, Corthorn’s men were still in the dressing-room and probably still basking in the joy of thrashing local-derby neighbours Linby Colliery Welfare the previous Monday.
Eventually they began to play their way back into the game, enjoying more possession. But it was a wonder goal that gave them proper hope just after the half-hour mark.
Recalled winger Kane Matthews pounced on a defensive mistake and although he still had a lot to do, 20 yards out, he found the net with an unstoppable strike.
Rolls finished the half well, with both Jack Smith and Jack Allen going close. But they had to withstand lots of Belper pressure in the second period.
The home side created several chances, the best of which fell to Wheatcroft, who scooped the ball over the bar from eight yards.
Only hard work kept the Hucknall outfit in the game -- and it was rewarded eight minutes from time with an equaliser when a scramble in the box led to substitute Harry Allen stabbing the ball home from six yards.
Belper manager Paul Postlethwaite paid tribute to Rolls, saying: “They worked harder than any team we have come up against this season and deserved the point.”