THE STAGE is set perfectly for the Easter showdown between BULWELL and FC Cavaliers that will decide the destiny of the Notts Senior League, Senior Division championship.
Leaders Cavaliers are still unbeaten this term after an amazing run of 20 wins and five draws (and a goal-difference of plus-60). But second-placed Bulwell have been hunting them down relentlessly in a fine first season in charge for new managers Steve Osborne and Terry Witts.
Now, after their 11th win on the trot, The Bulls are just six points behind Cavs with two games in hand and seven to play in all. So the importance of their clash on Saturday (April 7) is there for all to see.
Just for good measure, they even meet again the following Saturday in the semi-finals of the league cup, with the winners likely to face Linby Colliery Welfare in the final.
That 11th win was an excellent 4-0 dismantling of former champions Wollaton. Bulwell survived an early scare when the visitors hit the bar from a corner, forcing Jay Knight to clear off the line, and recovered to post an improved performance laced with crisp, passing football.
Striker John Manders opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a backward header from Jamie Carter’s cross, and from then on, Wollaton rarely threatened a Bulwell backline well marshalled by man-of-the-match Dwayne Soar.
It wasn’t all good news, though, because a couple of hamstring-injuries forced both Robbie England and Dave ‘Nookie’ Ward to limp off and they could now miss the rest of the campaign.
But after another fright at the start of the second period, Manders doubled the lead with a tap-in after good work by Connor Carter and young substitute Josh Niblett.
And Wollaton’s hopes were completely killed off when they were reduced to ten men on the hour by a red card after a defender had handled on the line to keep out a Knight header. The resulting penalty was dispatched by Connor Carter.
Both Ryan King and Connor Carter then missed golden chances before midfielder Jake Keetley rounded off the scoring with his first goal of the season — a header into an empty net.
BULWELL LINE-UP — Wheat J./ Ward, Murdock, Knight, Soar D., Keetley, King, Carter J., Manders, Carter C., England. Subs: Niblett J. (for Ward 53), Gretton S., Moore (for Manders 79), Walker J. (for England 34).