Belper Town secured an easy victory against bottom club Hucknall Town as Jon Froggatt’s hat trick helped keep the Nailers in third place.
Hucknall’s problems had been well documented this season and Yellows’ manager Darren Kelk has had a tough time of it as he attempts to steer the Nottinghamshire side through to the end of the season.
Anything less than a fivegoal margin of victory would have been seen as something of a failure judging by Hucknall’s last two games, in which they had shipped in 14 goals against teams in the bottom half of the division, and this was by no means plain sailing for Peter Duffield’s men.
The Belper manager, celebrating his manager of the month award for March, must have felt as frustrated as any of the sizeable contingent of Nailers’ supporters.
A hard uneven pitch played into the hands of the hosts, and Belper never quite mastered it all afternoon.
Early nerves were settled when Jon Froggatt tucked away an easy chance after a fourth minute free kick fell to him, but until the Nailers scored their second over half an hour later, it was a frustrating period.
Corey Hardy prevented Jon Froggatt getting a second on 16 minutes when he blocked Belper’s top goalscorer, not once, but twice as he tried to get his shot away.
Colin Marrison got up well to head a corner kick straight to Michael Yates, then after a period of scrappy play he put another header just wide.
Shaun Tuton’s pace on the ball had been Belper’s best threat in the first half and on 36 minutes he sped past Ryan Cheetham and struck a fearsome shot high into the net from 12 yards.
Richard Adams rose unchallenged to head firmly past the ’keeper from a Simon Harrison corner in the 42nd minute.
Anthony Rowley gave the Nailers a rare moment of concern just before the referee blew for the interval with a low drive that Aaron Chapman needed two attempts at saving.
Jeremy Moran’s trip on Colin Marrison presented Belper with an early opportunity to add to their total on 51 minutes and Jon Froggatt duly converted the resulting spot kick.
Simon Harrison put Shaun Tuton away but he couldn’t reproduce his earlier devastating finish and hit his shot just past the far post.
Jon Froggatt claimed his hat trick with a neat close range finish in the 72nd minute and the chances kept on coming for Belper, but they missed the opportunity to rack up a double figure score. Eric Graves and Simon Harrison both missed good opportunities to score as the game entered added on time.
Hucknall Town: Yates, Hardy, Cheetham R, Stolworthy, Tyler, Hatfield, Rowley, Moran, Slawson, Dawson (Cheetham A74), O’Donnell,
Belper Town: Chapman, Wright, Rushbury, Marrison, White, Adams, Harrison, Warne, Froggatt (Thomas 80), Tuton (Ward 80), Graves. Unused subs: Cotton, Simpkins, Ratcliffe.
Referee: Jo Clark (Walsall)