FAINT chances of improving HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE launching a late challenge for the Notts Senior League, Senior Division title were dashed by unbeaten tabletoppers FC Cavaliers.
Despite looking the better side in the first half, Rolls fell to a 2-0 defeat, which halted a run of form that had lifted them into the top seven.
Now they trail Cavaliers by fully 20 points and are left to concentrate on the league cup for their honours’ fix this term.
Rolls have reached the final of the cup in each of the last two seasons. But they have been given the hardest possible tie in this year’s quarter-finals on February 18 — away to high-riding local-derby rivals, BULWELL, who are Cavaliers’ chief rivals for the championship.
Having lost only three times in the league themselves, Rolls were hopeful of becoming the first side to defeat Cavs. And things looked bright when Alistair Murray drove a low 25-yarder against a post in the seventh minute.
They should even have taken the lead on 26 when Billy Brooks squared for Murray, who cleverly dummied to allow Andy Start a shot that was hit straight at the ‘keeper.
At the other end, goalkeeper Mark Rollson did have to pull off two or three smart saves. But Rolls hardly deserved to turn round a goal down when, two minutes into injury-time, Stefan Cross guided home a shot from 20 yards after a half-cleared corner.
It was the boost Cavaliers needed — and they effectively sealed the game with a second goal ten minutes into the second half. This time, a corner was flicked on at the near post for Tom Simpson to bundle the ball home.
In response, Rolls huffed and puffed but showed little or no quality where it mattered. They missed striker Kyle McDermott, who was out injured but played for his Sunday club, T8s, in their big local derby against Plough Barflies the next morning.
Cavaliers created more chances, and the locals were indebted to man-of-the-match Rollson for keeping the score down.
ROLLS LINE-UP (4-5-1) — Rollson/ Paterson D., Buckley, Short, Tolley/ Brooks, Murray, Niblett, Solomon, Poole/ Start A. Subs: Greeley (for Murray 65), Wallis (for Start 70), Conn (not used).