Grateful Belper United were celebrating without a kicking a ball at the weekend -- because a slip-up by the leaders threw them firmly back into the race for the title.
Third-placed Belper were only too pleased to hear of a surprise 3-1 home defeat for Selston in the South Division of the Central Midlands League.
Selston lost 3-1 to Sherwood Colliery in a result which brought to an end a long unbeaten run that stretched back to the opening day of the season. The damage was done in the first eight minutes when Julian Topliss and then Mark Carter gave ‘The Wood’ a dream start. There were 83 minutes on the clock before Selston pulled one back, through Joe Riley, but as they poured forward for an equaliser, they were hit on the break in stoppage time when Topliss netted his second.
United were left still five points behind the top dogs, but on the same number of matches. After their home clash with struggling local-derby rivals, Holbrook St Michael’s last night, Paul Postlethwaite’s side travel to Pinxton this Saturday. The title could yet be decided by two crunch matches they have with Selston -- away on Saturday, March 19 and then at home on Wednesday, April 6.
Squeezed between Selston and United in the table are Hucknall Town, who reduced their gap to the leaders to four points with a 2-0 home win over Mickleover Royal British Legion, earned by goals from Joe Ashurst in the 12th minute and Kajally Danso on the hour. However, Hucknall have played three matches more than their two rivals, and a bigger threat could yet be Selston’s conquerors, Sherwood, who now sit fourth, just three points behind United, having played one game more.
Meanwhile, at the foot of the table, the woes of Holbrook St Miochael’s continued with a 5-0 defeat at home to Swanwick Pentrich Road. Guy Wilding bagged two for The Swans, with Chris Turner, Mark Green and Ash Buxton also on the scoresheet.
The Saints’ reserves side are faring no better. They crashed 9-1 at second-placed Heanor Town Reserves for their 16th defeat in 17 matches at the bottom of the league’s Reserves Division. An identical 9-1 scoreline also dumped Belper United Reserves out of the reserves league cup last midweek when a goal by Rob Rathbone was not enough to prevent a pummelling at Pinxton Reserves.