Belper Town lose Derbyshire Senior Cup final on penalties

Heartache for Belper's Alex Steadman after Alfreton 'keeper Matt Duke saves his spot kick - Pic by: Richard Parkes

Heartache for Belper's Alex Steadman after Alfreton 'keeper Matt Duke saves his spot kick - Pic by: Richard Parkes

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Belper Town suffered heart-break after they were beaten by Alfreton on penalties in the Derbyshire Senior Cup final.

The game finished 0-0 after 90 minutes and went straight to the penalty shoot-out.

Michael Armstrong and Alex Steadman missed the second and fifth penalties as Alfreton Town won the Derbyshire Senior Cup for the first time since 2003.

The National League North side scored four out of their five spot-kicks with centre-half Niall Heaton the only man to be denied by Nailers ‘keeper Danny Haystead.

It could have been a whole different story, as ten minutes before time substitute Laurence Constable’s left-footed volley from the edge of the area crashed off the underside of the crossbar.

Nailers Captain Eric Graves, who was making his 500th career appearance, could only head the rebound wide in what would have made a remarkable story.

Neither side deserved to win the game in all fairness, but it was the Nailers who had the better of the chances throughout.

A very promising opening five minutes for Charlie Palmer’s men saw Phil Watt’s header brilliantly kept out by Duke, then moments later Duke was on hand again to deny Jonathan Williams’ low drive.

The Reds’ didn’t register their first shot on goal until midway through the first-half, former Nailer Jamie Jones cut in from the left but his effort went wide of the target.

Sam Jones had Alfreton’s best chance and that was from a dead ball situation, his powerful free-kick was awkwardly parried wide by Haystead to keep his clean sheet intact.

Nigel Smith blew the full-time whistle to send the match to a penalty shoot-out, Louis Keenan smashed home the Nailers first penalty and Bradley responded for Reds’.

Armstrong stepped up but his penalty missed the target then Jones dispatched to put Alfreton in front.

Williams drilled the ball past Duke to get the Nailers back on level terms, centre-half Todd Jordan then confidently dispatched to make it 3-2.

Substitue Kyle Bryant calmly stepped up and sent Duke the wrong way then Haystead gave the Nailers a life-line by saving Niall Heaton’s spot-kick.

Steadman, who has scored every one of his penalties for Belper this season, was denied by Duke to give Ryan Wilson the opportunity to win the Derbyshire Senior Cup for Alfreton.

He duly obliged, tucking the ball into the side netting low to Haystead’s right to send the Alfreton fans behind the goal into raptures.

Alfreton Town: Duke, Moyo, Allan, Jordan, Heaton, Nyoni, Leesley, Jackson (Smith 68’), Meikel (Wilson 76’), Jones, Bradley.

Belper Town: Haystead , Allen, Keenan, Armstrong, Parker, Watt, Stevenson (Bryant 87’), Graves (Capt.), Watkis (Constable 72’), Williams, Steadman.

Unused subs: Palmer, Taggart, Mansfield (GK).

Attendance: 469.

Referee: Nigel Smith.