Christmas arrived a few days early for tabletopping Belper United, who gorged on a feast of goals to stay in command at the top of the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
Belper battered struggling Bulwell 11-1 with three players celebrating hat-tricks -- Sam Vickers, Ben Stockley and Dean Oliver.
The leaders, who have now won 12 of their 16 league games this season, never looked back after Bulwell conceded an own goal as early as the ninth minute. It was 4-0 by the break, and Belper continued to pile on the agony for the visitors in the second half. Alfie Holland was their other scorer before The Bullls mustered an 86th minute consolation through Liam Towle.
Belper now head the table by six points from Hucknall Town, who have two matches in hand, one of which is on Boxing Day in a local derby against Hucknall Rolls Leisure. Paul Postlethwaite’s team take a deserved break over Christmas and are not in action until the New Year when they entertain third-placed Selston on Wednesday, January 6.
Meanwhile Hucknall followed up their midweek 7-1 win over Holbrook St Michaels with another three points at Matlock Town Reserves. Their 5-0 victory featured two goals from star midfielder Leon Aikman, with Michael Banister, Niall Thompson and Josh Henry also on target for the visitors’ fifth win on the spin.
Struggling Holbrook failed to recover from their mauling at Watnall Road, sinking to a 5-0 defeat at home to Pinxton, who showed no signs of fatigue after their gallant efforts in the FA Vase two days earlier, when they went down 4-3 to Nuneaton Griff. Pinxton’s goals were shared by five different players -- Pete Stubley, Tom Ellis, Chris Gilson, Chris Shelton and Luke Walker.
Holbrook are now only three points above bottom team Southwell City, who will enjoy a happy Christmas after posting their first win of the season at the 16th attempt. And what a scalp it was too as they travelled to Clay Cross Town and found themselves four goals up after 55 minutes. Jonny Nussey opened the scoring with a 13th minute penalty, Billy Pycroft doubled the score by the interval, and then two quick goals from Stewart Gill and Dean Carpenter followed. Although Ryan Ordidge and Joe Harris pulled a couple back for the Millers, City came through 4-2.
Elsewhere in the South Division, Keyworth United ended a seven-match winless run by beating Linby Colliery Welfare 2-0 at Platt Lane. Corey Johnson gave them a first-half lead, although the game was in the balance until Conner Parkin’s 88th minute goal finally secured the points.
In the Reserves Division, Belper United Reserves eased their worries near the foot of the table with only their second victory of the campaign. They defeated Holbrook Sports Reserves 4-1 thanks to strikes from Joe Dale, Ben Litchfield, Tom Curtis and Jack Riley. Bottom-of-the-table Holbrook St Michael’s Reserves were without a match.