A hat-trick by top scorer Sam Vickers kept the title flame of Belper United burning in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
Desperate to bounce back after three defeats in their previous four games, United dismantled bottom-of-the-table Southwell City to the tune of 5-0.
And there was no doubt who the hero was as Vickers plundered three of the goals to take his tally for the season to an impressive 22. The other two were scored by Shaun Roulstone. The victory moved United to second spot in the table, although they remain five points behind leaders Selston, whose match was postponed. They don’t have a fixture this Saturday, but return to league action on March 2 when struggling Holbrook St Michael’s are the visitors to Christchurch Meadow.
United received another boost because fellow rivals for the title, Hucknall Town, dropped two points in a 1-1 draw at Clay Cross Town, who went in front through Tomas Poole in the 66th minjute before Matt Brian levelled nine minutes from the end. Fourth-placed Sherwood Colliery also suffered a slip-up when crashing 4-0 at home to unpredictable Pinxton, for whom Jake Vernon fired a hat-trick and Nathan Benger also found the net.
Elsewhere, Blidworth Welfare were 2-0 winners over Linby Colliery Welfare, with goals from Matt Curzon and Charlie Taylor in the last 15 minutes seeing them home, while the improvement of Collingham continued with a 1-0 victory over Hucknall Rolls Leisure. Jack Wilkinson bagged the goal that made it 14 points from their last 18 for the Newark outfit.
The other game in the South Division resulted in a 4-1 win for Mickleover Royal British Legion at Keyworth United. The goals were shared by Jamie Sleigh (2), David Moon and Charlie Reinsford.
In the Reserves Division, bottom-of-the-table Holbrook St Michael’s Reserves went close to upsetting high-flying title-chasers Graham Street Prims Reserves before going down 3-2 despite goals from Dominic Hayes.
Holbrook Sports Reserves were deadlocked in a goalless draw away to mid-table Mickleover Royal British Legion Reserves, but Belper United Reserves crashed to a humiliating 12-1 defeat at home to Teversal Reserves. John Boyd did get on the scoresheet for Belper, but they were crushed by an avalanche of goals, including four from Josh Radford and three from Tom Ellis.