A second half stroke of luck denied United their first point of the season as Hucknall Town ran out 1-0 victors at the NTR Stadium in Tuesday’s evening kick off.
United came into the game rooted to the bottom of the table with Hucknall merely a point ahead. Despite shutting out their habit of defensive errors, the whites were undone by a spectacular winner from Julian Topliss.
Hucknall started brightly with good attacking momentum but failed to create any real goal scoring chances, despite looking the team that was going to do so first. It took a while for Terry Fleming’s troops to generate good possession and momentum, but the team passed well around the 20 minute mark and began to control the game. A particular spell resulted with Fleming finding himself in good space, but firing well over with a long range drive.
However, it was Hucknall who broke the deadlock with a stunning individual goal from Julian Topliss. The Hucknall wide man won the ball on the right flank before creating a little space for himself and letting fly from 25 yards with a shot that cannoned in off Phil McGann’s near post. The away side maintained their advantage until half time and The Whites went in trailing 1-0.
United failed to make too much more of an impact in the second half but looked far sturdier defensively than in previous games. In fact, Hucknall had two brilliant chances to further extend their lead.
A well directed header was cleared off the line following a deep cross from a corner but Jamie Brown missed an absolute sitter to put the result beyond doubt following a great burst down the right from Nathan Kelly. The winger whipped in an inviting ball for his team mate who failed to nod in from a couple of yards, where it looked harder to miss than score, a huge let off for United that still proved to have no alteration on the final result.
Despite putting big Craig Leverett up front, The Whites still failed to create any clear cut chances. To add to frustration, new re-signing Steve Melton landed awkwardly causing an injury to his neck, forcing the attacker to be substituted following an interval for treatment.
The Whites mounted an attacking surge in extra time, but Hucknall held on to secure all 3 points, leaving United still in search of their first points of the season.
By Harry Tedder