Belper United earned a 5-0 win at Central Midlands League newcomers Eastwood Community FC on Saturday to retain second place in the South Division.
Paul Postlethwaite welcomed back skipper Scott Slater and new signing Alfie Holland. Tim Perry, Joe Conkleton and James Baxter all passed late fitness tests.
With Eastwood boasting a new manager and virtually new side, they started in lively fashion on a hard and bobbly pitch.
It took ten minutes before United got used to the playing surface but from that point on there was only one team in it.
The Eastwood defence struggled to handle the pace of Sam Vickers and Ryan Wheatcroft and the movement of Jordan Ball but all three missed good chances to open the scoring.
On 38 minutes, United finally made the breakthrough when an excellent finish from Ball found the bottom corner of the net.
After 43 minutes, Eastwood were reduced to ten men after a fracas in front of the dugouts involving a number of players.
After being camped in the Eastwood half for the first 15 minutes of the second half, United finally doubled their lead. Last-ditch defending saw the ball fall to Adam Moss in the 18-yard box, who skipped round a defender and smashed his shot home for his first ever senior goal.
After 72 minutes, United made it three after a fine cross from Ryan Wheatcroft was volleyed home by Sam Vickers.
Five minutes later, it was 4-0 after a rugby-style challenge in the box was deemed a penalty and Jordan Ball smashed home the spotkick.
Ball got his fully deserved hat-trick on 90 minutes after a brilliantly struck shot from the edge of the area.
In the dying seconds, Eastwood were down to nine men after another red card, this time for dissent.
Paul Postlethwaite said: “This was a potential banana skin game for us with them having appointed a new manager and new side but we put in a very professional performance and got the job done.
“Defensively, we were excellent and they protected Scott Whittingham in goal all game, who didn’t have a shot on or off target to deal with all day.
“As an attacking force it was great for Jordan Ball to get his hat-trick and as an added bonus fullback Adam Moss scored his first goal for the club.
“We have another free midweek so we will prepare for the visit of Bulwell at home on Saturday.”