North returns to Oakham from near neighbours
Michael Nelson moved to the top of the Peterborough League Premier Division goalscoring charts as his hat-trick haul helped Oakham United to a 5-0 home success over Peterborough Polonia on Saturday.
Nelson’s treble took his tally to 13 goals in seven games this campaign as Oakham maintained their fine start to the new season.
Stewart Lambie’s side are unbeaten in seven league games and boast the second best overall goal difference in the division.
They have also boosted their playing ranks this week with midfielder James North returning to Lonsdale Meadow from local rivals Cottesmore Amateurs.
Lambie commented: “It’s going well at the moment. The squad is becoming a bit more consistent which has been a big help.
“We’ve got a lot of local lads playing again. David Bates and James Farr are back playing and now James North has returned.
“I’ve been looking to strengthen the midfield and James is someone who will take control of the ball for us.”
Oakham had to be patient to secure Saturday’s success as they missed a number of early opportunities before breaking the deadlock in the closing stages of the first half and then hitting four goals after the break.
Lambie added: “We didn’t play as well as we could. We tried to rush things too much but, once we got the first goal, it settled us down.
“We kept our patience and composure. Michael Nelson and Robbie Pearce are working really well together for us. They are a defender’s nightmare at the moment.”
The duo were to the fore in the opening stages of the contest with Nelson just failing to convert a Pearce corner from close range.
Nelson then blazed over with just the visiting custodian to beat following a Pearce knock-down before Polonia went close with a shot from outside the box that rattled the home crossbar.
Oakham then responded with Pearce and Nelson again combining with the former rounding the goalkeeper before firing into the side-netting from an acute angle.
Ashley Hibbert then dragged a shot wide after being put clear by Pearce's through ball before Dan Jenkins eventually broke the deadlock three minutes before the break.
The visitors struggled to clear their lines from an Oakham corner and Jenkins pounced to drill home at the back post.
Oakham continued on the offensive after the break with Hibbitt heading over when well placed following a pinpoint Bates cross.
Bates then supplied the centre which allowed Oakham to double the lead after 57 minutes with Nelson sweeping home his first goal of the game.
Nelson thought he had made it three when he chipped the advancing keeper, but the move was brought back following an earlier foul on the Oakham frontman and Josh Gooding clipped the resultant free-kick against the crossbar.
Polonia rallied and Lambie had to be alert to scoop away a headed effort with Craig Welbourne making a timely block to keep out the follow up.
However, the visitors' task then became more difficult when Jacek Stolarski was dismissed after collecting his second booking of the afternoon.
And Oakham took full advantage to add their third with 10 minutes remaining as Nelson raced away down the right and, although the Polonia goalkeeper blocked his effort, Bates was on hand to tap home the rebound.
Oakham then made it 4-0 with six minutes remaining as a Pearce cross fell kindly off a visiting defender for Nelson to pounce and fire home from close range.
Lambie then preserved his clean sheet by tipping over a late effort before Oakham completed the scoring in the 87th minute.
Luke Hollingworth picked out an unmarked Nelson in the box and he had time to turn and rifle home his hat-trick and seal back-to-back league wins.
Oakham face a tricky trip to fourth-placed Holbeach United Reserves on Saturday with North set to make his bow while Grantham Town Academy goalkeeper Francisco Marina is expected to return.