Heath hits hat-trick as in-form Boro cruise past Bolsover
Colin Heath hit a hat-trick as NCEL Division One leaders Knaresborough Town eased to another three points, seeing off FC Bolsover at Manse Lane.
Paul Stansfield’s team survived a couple of early scares on their way to a 4-0 success which consolidates their eight-point lead at the top of the table.
They look a well-oiled machine, and there were good performances all over the pitch as they cruised to a second consecutive 4-0 triumph and a 12th league win in 14 outings, without ever reaching top gear.
Things could possibly have ended up very differently, however, had 10th-placed Bolsover taken a couple of early chances.
After an even opening to the game, visiting full-back Ben Copestake raided down the right and delivered a dangerous ball into the six-yard box, but the away side failed to apply a finishing touch.
Soon afterwards, Jack Weaver was sent scampering through on Dan Atkinson’s goal.
The Boro gloveman got down well to force Weaver wide, and as he tried to send the ball goalwards from a tight angle, Will Lenehan was on hand to clear the danger.
Play then switched to the other end and Town got their noses in front with 12 minutes on the clock.
Ben Cohen’s shot from the right edge of the penalty area was only parried by Ryan Hopkins and Brad Walker was on hand to slot home the loose ball.
The opening goal settled the hosts down somewhat and they began to take charge of proceedings, but they could have been in big trouble just after the half-hour-mark.
Bolsover’s big striker Josh Parfitt was played in on goal and tangled with Lenehan on the edge of the box.
It’s difficult to say for certain whether the Boro skipper actually did enough to send Parfitt to the turf, or whether the visiting number nine went down too easily in a bid to get his opponent dismissed for a professional foul.
Either way, there was certainly a coming together and this was an incident that definitely falls into the category of ‘seen them given’.
Bolsover were incensed by the decision to play on and tempers threatened to boil over.
Still reeling from the perceived injustice, the Derbyshire outfit conceded a penalty in the 33rd minute when the lively Cohen was tripped in the area.
Heath stepped up and coolly sent Hopkins the wrong way from the spot to double his side’s advantage 11 minutes before the break.
A fine run down the right by Rob Youhill then saw him deliver a teasing low ball across the face of the away goal, but nobody was on hand to convert.
There was little incident of further not before the half-time whistle, however the game was put to bed just nine minutes into the second period.
Cohen, who proved a constant menace, saw a header come back off an upright and Heath was on hand to nod home the rebound from just a couple of yards out for 3-0.
It got even better for Boro, and for their centre-forward, when he netted his third of the afternoon in the 66th minute.
Conor Donogue played a ball over the top from the left-hand side and, having judged an awkward bounce of the ball just outside the penalty area, Heath fired a powerful effort towards goal.
Hopkins was quickly off his line and got plenty on the strike, but not enough to prevent it from bouncing into the back of the net.
A fine Walker run down the left then teed up substitute Steve Bromley inside the box, but the former Harrogate Railway striker fired over the top.
Bromley then finished deftly from a cute Cohen through-ball, only to be denied by an offside flag, and Ben Atkinson stuck the inside of the post as Boro continued to press.
Town stopper Dan Atkinson was forced into a good save by Montelle Kamara in the last minute of the game after Stansfield’s men switched off momentarily, but they should have added a fifth goal right at the death.
Man of the match Cohen was played clean through on goal by Bromley and had plenty of time to pick his spot, only to see his attempt at a cheeky dink over Hopkins easily held by the keeper.
Next up for Stansfield and his troops is a trip to Evo-Stik Premier Division Farsley Celtic in the first round of the West Riding County Cup on Tuesday evening.