UTTOXETER Town stuffed Redgate Clayton 5-0 as they bounced back following their disappointing 3-1 defeat at Norton United.
Town demolished their hosts in a superb opening to the Staffordshire Senior League Premier Division match as Tommy Smith and Matt Redshaw (pictured, 2) gave them the lead.
Further goals from skipper Martin Gadsby and substitute James Curley sealed it as second-placed Uttoxeter look to keep their title dream alive.
Manager Mark Grimley made several changes to his line-up, with Mark Hodson, Rob Collins, Alex Woods and Jon Lamburn all unavailable.
Gadsby partnered Lee Bagley at the heart of Town’s defence, with Harry Price at right-back and Mark Springall at left-back.
Uttoxter’s midfield welcomed back Jack Holley and he joined Kyle Esplin, Liam Sowter and Rob Weston. Tommy Smith and Redshaw led the line.
Town started the game brightly against the notorious Redgate slope and effectively put the game to bed with a devastating opening 25-minute display.
They went in front on nine minutes after good work from Esplin and Holley gave the deadly Smith a chance he took with an excellent finish.
Redshaw then extended the lead with two goals in five minutes to all but seal the win for Grimley’s men.
Town we’re now playing with a freedom and confidence and were passing the ball with great intent.
Redgate were unable to contain the midfield runners, with Sowter unlucky not to extend the lead with a glorious free kick that cannoned off the underside of the bar.
It was not long, though, before Town extended the lead further, Gadsby first to react to smash home a loose ball following a succession of corners.
Uttoxeter were dominant throughout the first period and what little threat the hosts did pose was comfortably dealt with by the new look back four, with keeper Alex Langridge merely a bystander.
The second half saw the introduction of Curley in place of the injured Smith. He immediately made his mark with a lovely header to make it five following great wide play from Sowter.
The final third of the game saw Town completely dominate proceedings and despite the lack of goals Grimley must have been pleased with the professionalism on show.
The game was not without controversy, however.
Bagley, who had not given the Redgate striker a kick alongside Gadsby, was hit with a flailing arm right in front of the referee.
The official deemed this unworthy of even a free kick, despite Bagley having to be substituted following the incident with a suspected broken nose.
Town will now expect to finish the season on a high starting with an away game at Newcastle Town’s Aspire Stadium on Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm.