Glapwell maintain title challenge
In difficult conditions, a depleted Glapwell kept the pressure on the top two with a 4-1 victory at ten-man Bilsthorpe FC.
After such a period of inactivity, this was Glapwell's first game for a month, and only their second in the last 11 weeks, this was a great result for Glapwell especially after they fell behind just before the half-hour mark.
An instant response, though, they were level inside a minute, and the dismissal of home skipper Stuart Grozier on the stroke of half-time for a second yellow card, ensured that Glapwell returned to winning ways and close the gap on the top two in the division.
All this was achieved, as well, despite a number of key players being missing, only one of the back four which had featured in their previous game was available, and that was Ross Murcott who was playing through the pain barrier, with Jonathan Heston ruled out through injury and both the full-backs from the game playing in Australia, and with Staveley.
There were five other first-teamers missing while Adam Kimberley only arrived at the ground at half-time after flying back into the country in the morning from holiday.
Kimberley's arrival from the bench at the start of the second period was his his 100th appearance for the club, and he marked it with a last-minute free-kick to round off the scoring.
So, only six of the players that started the draw at Thorne four weeks ago started the game with four of the starters having started less than three matches so far this season with Derrick Miller making his first start in almost a year at centre back while Josh Clayton and Sean Gardner had only one start each prior to the game, there was also a later debut from the bench for Jake Levers.
This was not going to be the routine victory that the league table expected it to be, though, for Glapwell and they nearly fell a goal behind inside the opening ten minutes but Dominic Hammond dragged his shot past the far post.
Glapwell should have gone in front, though, with their first real chance of the game on 14 minutes when good work by Daniel Russell down the right set up a chance for Josh Parfitt at the back post but he failed to make contact when any real touch would have given them the lead.
A Derrick Miller deflected header was then headed off the line by a home defender from a Josh Thomas corner from the left as Glapwell searched for the opening goal.
But, that breakthrough arrived for the home side as Dominic Hammond's speculative effort form 25 yards out squirmed through the hands of Ryan Hopkins who failed to keep hold of the greasy ball.
Credit to Glapwell, though, as they levelled the scores less than 60 seconds later as Josh Thomas' delivery from the right was met by Daniel Russel at the back post who fired the ball into the ground and it flew into the top corner for his 10th goal of the season.
With conditions getting ever more difficult, though, due to the rain and heavy pitch, there weren't too many more incidents of note in the first period, except for the dismissal of home skipper Stuart Grozier who was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Josh Clayton just outside the area.
From the resulting free-kick, Josh Parfitt's effort was all along the floor but not all that far wide but the sides went into the interval level.
Playing against ten-men, though, Glapwell always fancied their chances for the second period and, although they did spend much of the opening of the second period in the home side's half they failed to break down what looked like being a resolute home defence.
The key moment came halfway through the second period, though, when Adam Kimberley was introduced for his 100th Glapwell appearance, and within a minute Glapwell were in front for the first time.
Mitchell Mullins' ball from just inside the home side's half was chested down by Josh Parfitt and he turned and hit an effort which left Bilsthorpe's stand-in keeper Lee Bowler with no chance and after three games without a goal, Parfitt had his 23rd of the season.
Five minutes later, the game was all but over as Glapwell extended their advantage when more good work by the impressive Mullins saw the ball only cleared as far as Adam Barratt whose effort from just outside the area took a touch off a defender and flew into the net.
From that point on, it was pretty much a routine final 20 minutes for Glapwell who just needed to keep things tight at the other end, which they did, but they always looked like extending their advantage before the end.
They finally did that, in the final minute, as Kimberley marked his landmark day with a free-kick from 20 yards which went in via the bottom of the post as he scored his 20th Glapwell goal.
Overall, job well done for Glapwell who shook off their recent inactivity and put in a spirited performance despite the absence of several first-team regulars.
They remain in third place in the league but they have closed the gap on second-placed Harworth Colliery to just one point, with two games in hand, while they also have three games in hand on current leaders Phoenix FC who are four points ahead.
They will be looking to build on this victory and maintain their strong title challenge next week when they make the longest trip of the season to Easington United, kick-off 2pm before returning to Hall Corner the following week for the visit of Welbeck Welfare, when kick-offs will return to 3pm.
Goals: Hammond (Bilsthorpe) 28; Russell (Glapwell) 29; Parfitt (Glapwell) 68; Barratt (Glapwell) 73; Kimberley (Glapwell) 90
Bilsthorpe: Lee Bowler, Liam Raby, Kyle Wesley, Jonathan Rowbotham, Stuart Grozier, George Simpson, Ashley Soloman, James Scothern (Sam Hardy 63), Craig Gould (Kyle Gould 76), Dominic Hammond, Scott Wesley. Subs not used: Jonathan Bullock, Paul Leatherland, Dean Mitchell
Glapwell: Ryan Hopkins, Mitchell Mullins, Sean Gardner, Ryan Cancellara, Ross Murcott, Derrick Miller, Josh Thomas (Adam Kimberley 67), Adam Barratt, Josh Parfitt, Josh Clayton, Daniel Russell (Jake Levers 73). Subs not used: Rowan Mayor, Josh Aitken
Glapwell Man of the Match: Mitchell Mullins
Yellow Cards: Grozier (Bilsthorpe) 32; K Wesley (Bilsthorpe) 50; Murcott (Glapwell) 66; S Wesley (Bilsthorpe) 76; Hammond (Bilsthorpe) 79
Red Cards: Grozier (Bilsthorpe) 45
Referee: Darren Tingle (Lincoln)