Belper United back in title race ahead of crunch match with leaders Selston

VICKERS IN A TWIST -- Sam Vickers (left), who was on the scoresheet again in Belper United's victory.
VICKERS IN A TWIST -- Sam Vickers (left), who was on the scoresheet again in Belper United's victory.

Clinging to their title hopes, Belper United closed the gap on leaders Selston when returning to winning ways in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.

After an Easter break, which followed a damaging 3-1 defeat at the hands of Selston, third-placed United made the awkward trip to Mansfield Woodhouse to take on Sherwood Colliery, who were only three points behind them.

But they were delighted to emerge with a 3-1 victory, and with Selston dropping two points in a 1-1 draw at Blidworth Welfare, the champions’ crown is still up for grabs. Paul Postlethwaite’s side remained ten points adrift of the top dogs, but they entertain them in the crunch return fixture at Christchurch Meadow on Wednesday night and also have a match in hand.

United’s victory at Sherwood was sparked by Sam Vickers, who converted a penalty. Dean Oliver and James Slack extended the lead before Jordan Pickering bagged a consolation goal. After tonight’s game, they are at home again on Saturday against sixth-placed Pinxton.

Selston looked set for three more points when Dominic Airey gave them a 38th minute lead, which they held on to until four minutes from the end. But then Jordan Harris pounced for an equaliser in only the sixth league game this season the visitors have failed to win.

Second spot in the table is still held by Hucknall Town, but their title aspirations all but disappeared after a 1-0 defeat against local-derby rivals, Hucknall Rolls Leisure, especially as they have played more games than their rivals. The only goal was netted by Jack Smith, who also scored a hat-trick when the two teams met earlier in the season and Rolls dumped Town out of the league cup.

At the other end of the table, Holbrook St Michael’s completed a week to forget when following up an 8-0 humbling at the hands of Rolls by crashing 3-0 at Linby Colliery Welfare.

In contrast, in the Reserves Division, Holbrook Sports Reserves celebrated two wins in a week by beating Blidworth Reserves 4-0 thanks to goals from Jake Dodds, Jermaine Palmer, Yannick Prenda and Vaughn Hallsworth, and high-flying Heanor Town Reserves 1-0. However, Belper United Reserves lost 2-0 to Graham Street Prims Reserves and Holbrook St Michael’s Reserves fell 6-1 at home to Radford Reserves.