Tempers became frayed and a red card was brandished as Ruthless North Notts enjoyed a sparking six-goal victory in the Midland Men’s Hockey League.
Home side Nottingham, who adopted a physical approach throughout, had a player sent off on the stroke of half-time. But North Notts were already five up by then and went on to cruise to a 6-0 success that earned them their ninth win in 13 league matches this term.
They now sit third in the East Midlands Premier Division table, just four points behind Derwent, but still nine behind the unbeaten runaway leaders Boots.
It was a comprehensive display to mark North Notts’s return to league duty after the previous week’s match had been postponed -- and it delighted manager Jay Faulkner, who said:
“The game was over as a contest after we went 3-0 up in the 26th minute. We did well to ride a flurry of bad tackles and after the red card, we did well not to get flustered.
“We stood together as a team, and special credit has to go to Rhys Jepson, who put in a man-of-the-match performance and really cut the opposition apart at times.”
Jepson it was who opened the floodgates for a full-strength North Notts team looking to follow up their 6-2 home victory over mid-table Nottingham earlier in the season. With a sublime ball that carved open the hosts’ backline, he picked out Allen Butler, who beat one man, drew the goalkeeper and then slid the ball to cousin William Butler, who stroked the ball into an empty goal.
Ten minutes later, and after more pressure, Jepson slotted home the goal of the game with a crisp, rising shot that the home ‘keeper couldn’t get near. And the third goal soon arrived too when midfielder Nathan Smith made an immediate impact after going on as a substitute, showing his superior pace and skill.
In the closing minutes of the opening half, Nottingham’s goose was well and truly cooked as they conceded two more goals and received their red card.
First, the forward combination of Allen Butler and Jason Barton produced a goal of sheer simplicity for North Notts -- the former doing the hard work and setting up a two-yard tap-in for the latter.
Next, William Butler supplied another terrific finish to leave the visitors in cruise control. And then as Nottingham’s frustration boiled over, a moment of madness after a clash of sticks with North Notts’s Josh Singleton. The clash accidentally cut the home player’s chin, but he responded with a barrage of attempted punches that led to inevitable dismissal.
In the second period, Faulkner called for composure from his side and also enjoyed the luxury of resting players to see out the game. North Notts still added another goal when Barton scored to complete the rout.