A QUARTET of goals from James Ward got Newhall United back to winning ways against Sandiacre Town at the Hawfields on Saturday.
Ward struck twice in each half for the Blues, with Sean Headley netting a late consolation for the visitors.
Former Ryman League striker Ward took less than a minute to open his account, latching onto a ball from Joe Kilduff before rounding Sandiacre keeper James Burnett to score.
However, Johnny Smith’s men were rudely awakened from any thoughts of complacency two minutes later when it took an excellent low save from Simon Baldwin to keep Joe Turner’s low shot from finding the bottom corner.
Sandiacre’s attacks were mercifully rare, however, while Newhall missed several early chances to extend their lead.
Burnett thwarted Ward when he went one-on-one with the Sandiacre keeper, and an excellent tackle from Ryan Mellors dispossessed Matt Draycott as he shaped to shoot from close range.
Ward grabbed his second of the game after 20 minutes, meeting a through ball from Draycott and knocking it past Burnett, before following in to finish into the empty net despite a desperate attempt by Ben Brierley to slide in and keep it out.
Ward should have completed his hat-trick when strike partner Ashley Riddell squared the ball to him, but he fired at Burnett from close range. Then, a minute later, Ward fired another weak shot at the Sandiacre keeper.
Richard Draycott’s lob went just over the bar, while both Riddell and Matt Draycott went close with free headers. Riddell headed over at the far post, while the latter headed into Burnett’s grasp from the edge of the six-yard box.
Newhall’s efforts were finally rewarded eight minutes after the break.
Riddell was fouled 30 yards out, and Ward bent the free kick around the defensive wall for his hat-trick.
Luke Harris ended a good run forward with a shot which went just wide, and Ward fired over after being fed by Danny Wright, but goal number four for both Ward and Newhall came just after the hour mark when he broke clear and took a touch on the ball before despatching a clinical finish past Burnett.
Burnett almost gifted the Blues a fifth after he palmed Matt Draycott’s hooked shot onto his own crossbar before claiming the rebound, but Sandiacre struck next when Headley slid in to score while the Blues’ defence dallied.
However, that goal proved merely a consolation for Sandiacre, and Burnett remained the busier of the two goalkeepers’, palming away a low effort from CJ Ward and watching helplessly as Matt Draycott fired just over the bar.
Baldwin was called upon to race out and claim the ball at Bradley Mellors’ feet, but at the other end only the woodwork prevented Andy Greenhalgh from netting a late goal for Newhall when his shot rattled the crossbar.
GOALS: Ward 1, 20, 54, 63 (Blues); Headley 80 (Sandiacre).
BLUES: Baldwin, A Greenhalgh, Harris, R Draycott, R Greenhalgh, Foster (Stockdale 65), M Draycott, Wright (Watson 60), Riddell, J Ward (CJ Ward 74), Kilduff.
SANDIACRE: Burnett, Brierley (Headley 67), R Mellors, Ainsworth, Mann (Buckley 25), Room, Mitson (Tomlin 54), Turner, Spencer, B Mellors, Harries.
BLUES STAR MAN: James Ward – another productive day at the office for Newhall’s leading goalscorer.
REFEREE: S Cook (Belper).