RETFORD United returned to the top of the NCEL Premier table as they crushed Hall Road Rangers 7-0 at Cannon Park on Saturday.
The game was delayed by 20 minutes as some of the Hall Road players were stuck in traffic, but when the game eventually kicked off the visitors would have wished they could have stayed at home as Retford took control.
There were early chances for Brett Marshall’s men, Karl Slack shooting straight at the keeper, Carl Haslam denied and Corey Nightingale heading off target.
Warren Hatfield found Haslam with an inch perfect pass, only for the flag to be raised for a tight offside, then Slack did well to win a corner, challenging for the ball with Danny Ricketts, but United couldn’t get the ball into the box that they needed.
Eventually, on 15 minutes, the deadlock was broken as Slack was fed by Haslam, had time to pick his spot and buried the ball for 1-0.
Adam Scott’s free-kick was superbly tipped over the bar by Mike Burley in the Hall Road net, then Haslam’s effort pinballed in the area with the keeper rooted to the spot, somehow the ball curled away from the goalmouth and was hooked away.
Slack was unlucky with two efforts when he saw a volley fly wide of the upright and another hitting the post.
His strike partner Haslam increased the lead on 25 minutes after a poor pass out by the keeper, slotting home.
United were firmly on top, a rare excursion up field for Rangers saw Adam Crane blocked by Chris Baugh and Nightingale with a free-kick awarded just outside the box, but the visitors were unable to find the target.
Slack scored his second on 31 minutes, outpacing the defence to slide the ball past Burley.
The game player then got his second hat-trick in a week, firing into the net under pressure – making it seven goals in five games for Badgers.
Just before the half time whistle Scott crashed a shot against the bar, and the visitors would have been glad of the break as they looked to regroup.
Retford were on the attack straight after the break however, Nightingale broke to slide a pass through for Slack, but the flag was raised for offside, then Haslam missed from a few yards out.
But the goals kept on coming, Scott beating the keeper at the far post after good work by the front pair.
Two minutes later Haslam and Scott made way for Jamie Brown and debutant Carl Snowden, recently signed from Bottesford Town.
Having only been on the pitch for 40 seconds, Snowden produced a dangerous cross that was cut out by the keeper as Brown attacked.
He made it a dream start to his Retford career when he controlled in the box and lashed home to open his United account.
The game belonged to Retford and with news filtering through that Bridlington were losing their game, the goal difference deficit would be severely cut.
On 71 minutes Brown got the final goal of the afternoon with a good run from his own half to get into the box, keeping his head and cooly finishing to complete the rout.
Hall Roads afternoon was compounded with the dismissal of Jamie Heard for two yellow cards in quick succession.
The result sets up a mouthwatering clash between Badgers and fourth-placed Scarborough Athletic on Saturday, away from home.