JACK Sutherland returned to form with a richly deserved brace as an improvised Frolesworth side finally put an end to their Dorothy Avenue hoodoo and moved within just two points of the Division One summit.
The left-winger, who had only managed a solitary strike this season, trebled his tally either side of the break in a sparkling performance after two goals apiece from in-form Harry Simmons and the returning Greg Garner had already put the game beyond the grasp of a poor Parva side.
United's two joint top-scorers, Joe Cook and Callum Wills, were both missing, but you simply couldn't tell as they ran riot once again and stretched their unbeaten run to a club record five games, having scored a staggering 24 goals along the way.
It took the visitors just five minutes to breach the hosts' brief resistance, when Simmons lashed home from an acute angle before he doubled his side's advantage 19 minutes later, converting from close range following a Sam Young corner.
The onrushing Garner then met Young's superb cross at the far post to put United in cruise control, before he lashed home the goal of the game following a determined run. The outstanding Young's incisive volleyed pass set Sutherland free before the break and he finished confidently after rounding the keeper, before he converted Dominic Ivens' drilled cross just after the restart to conclude the scoring.
The only disappointment for the Clarets would be that they failed to get the clean sheet that goalkeeper Sam Green deserved following a string of impressive stops, but stand-in manager Jordan Halford can afford to be pleased with his side's efforts as United's late promotion push continues to gather momentum, moving within two points of table-toppers Dunton & Broughton Rangers having played two games less.
The Country Boys went into the game following a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Premier League high-fliers GT in the Arthur Moore Cup last weekend, but manager Ben Harris was forced to relinquish control to assistant Halford, who guided the Rabbits to a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture last October.
He inherited a crisis at the back, though, as Jack Boulton, Harvey Morgan and Martin Fennon were all unavailable and captain Mark James arrived late. Instead, playmaker Dominic Ivens was named as a makeshift centre-half, with Sam Pratt and chairman Josh Baines completing a completely different backline.
Halford reverted back to the familiar 4-4-2 and he had an embarrassment of riches available at his disposal in midfield, as the much sought-after Young was employed alongside Jake Pantony and Sutherland and Garner completed a frightening midfield on the flanks.
Up front, fans’ favourite Simmons kept his place with Miles Splevings alongside him, making his first start since the 5-5 draw with Dunton & Broughton Rangers. And once again, United began quickly and got their noses in front with the first attack of the match. Predictably it was in-form striker Simmons who notched his eighth goal of a fruitful campaign, lashing home at the far post from the tightest of angles.
The 19-year-old has proven himself to be a fox in the box this season and he was once again in the right place at the right time after a goalmouth scramble led to him poking in from close range to move just two goals behind Cook and Wills in the scoring charts, though the hosts were left infuriated as a dubious offside flag was correctly ignored.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, as Parva’s front two Roger Brailsford and former Hurricanes striker Danny McNulty looked to cause problems against United’s makeshift back-four and Green had to be alert to thwart the former when he burst through.
But United would put the game to bed with a four-minute double salvo, courtesy of the returning Garner soon after. Firstly, he met Young’s sumptuous cross with a perfectly-timed half-volley at the far post in the 29th minute before driving at the heart of the Parva defence minutes later, sending an unstoppable shot into the far corner from outside the box.
It was that flash of quality, which has made the Country Boys such an attacking threat this season, though Garner has only featured in just five games. How Harris would love to have him available every week.
But it was Frolesworth’s number 11 that would continue to do the damage on the opposite wing thereafter, as Sutherland, who had endured a frustrating morning thus far finally got going with United’s fifth in the 42nd minute.
Young had been the architect of all Frolesworth attacks and he sent Sutherland m clean through with a beautifully weighted pass with the outside of his boot, which tempted the keeper to come off his line.
But Sutherland, fleet of foot, comfortably beat him to it and effortlessly rounded him to slide into the empty net. The game might have been over, but Halford was frustrated to see his side take their foot off the gas and they naively conceded on the stroke of half time, much to Green’s disappointment.
He had turned a vicious long-range effort around the post moments earlier, but could do nothing as Brailsford uted a sublime overhead kick past him to put an unwanted blemish on an otherwise superb half of football.
Frolesworth attacked down the slope in the second period, but normal service resumed as the visitors continued to pepper the Parva goal and Sutherland ensured he was the third United player to set themselves up for a hat-trick.
Ivens, who is yet to score for Frolesworth this season, was twice denied from a corner before he turned provider from Young’s short set-piece. He then rifled the ball goalwards, but the former Scunthorpe United winger stuck out his leg to divert it past the goalkeeper.
It proved to be the only goal of an otherwise lacklustre second period, though Sutherland should have completed his hat-trick when he curled an effort wide after another powerful run before Garner, also chasing the match ball, saw his drive beaten away.
But the Rabbits, and Halford, had to be content for six as they extended their unbeaten run to a club record five games, having fired an incredible 24 goals in the process, and they once again turn their attentions to the Arthur Moore cup next week, knowing that nothing less than a win against promotion rivals Throops will guarantee their passage to the last eight.
UNITED – GREEN 9, PRATT 8, BEDFORD 8, IVENS 8, BAINES 8, GARNER 9, YOUNG 8, PANTONY 7, SUTHERLAND 9 (MOM), SIMMONS 7, SPLEVINGS 7
SUBS – STOKES 7, JAMES 7
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