Evo-Stik NPL Division One South
Loughborough Dynamo 2, Belper Town 2
BELPER Town were moments away from extending their winning sequence to eight games but a late equaliser from Loughborough denied them victory.
In many ways Dynamo deserved their point after dominating most of the latter stages of this entertaining encounter at the Nanpantan Sports Ground.
Damien Magee continued at left back in place of the injured Dan White and Ryan Hindley was also included at the expense of Scott Ellis who was also injured.
Tom Turner made a rare appearance between the posts in place of regular custodian Andy Richmond who was away on his honeymoon.
Dynamo’s league record wasn’t all that impressive, but the Nailers have always found Loughborough a tough nut to crack in their own back yard whatever the league positions of the two sides.
With an excellent playing surface enticing both teams, it was the Nailers who started well and might have taken the lead after only 5 minutes after Richard Adams headed a Jon Froggatt cross against the upright.
However, Dynamo struck the woodwork themselves in the 14th minute when Sam MacVicar’s 22 yard snapshot bounced away off the foot of the post.
The home team stunned the Nailers on 16 minutes when Jamie Clarke found himself unmarked just outside the 6 yard area and was allowed to turn and fire past the helpless Tom Turner.
Belper struggled to recover from this early set back and for long spells the game was scrappy with very little end product from either side.
In the 24th minute a flick on from Jon Froggatt almost fell for Lee Morris but he was quickly crowded out before he could get a shot in.
Jon Froggatt executed a hook shot in the 39th minute that at least forced Kahil Mann-Kler into a save, then he latched on to a through ball in the 43rd minute, but right back Danny Jenno made a superb interception as the Nailers’ marksman was about to shoot.
It was a good end to the half as Belper pressed forward and they were rewarded in the 44th minute when Richard Adams forced himself into the six yard area to head home an Andy Rushbury corner kick, sending the Nailers into the half time interval on level terms.
Belper wasted no time in making their mark after the break, and within a minute they had taken the lead when Deon Meikle swept in a Jon Froggatt cross from just inside the penalty area.
Belper should have made the most of a strong opening to the second half when Jon Froggatt got to the ball before the ‘keeper and hit a curling shot towards goal.
However, a Dynamo defender just managed to get to the goal line and prevent the ball going in, and Lee Morris should have capitalised from the rebound but blasted the ball over the top.
Ryan Hindley had a half-chance in the 62nd minute when he lobbed the ball high over the cross bar, but by now Loughborough had regained their composure, and to their credit fought back impressively.
Tom Turner saved bravely from a Sam MacVicar shot in the 67th minute and then Dynamo defender Danny Gibbons headed a good chance wide as Loughborough stepped up the pace.
Reece Lester was inches away with a low drive that flashed past the far post in the 82nd minute, and the Nailers were beginning creak under pressure as crosses and corner kicks rained in from all angles.
It seemed inevitable that a goal would come and it did so in the final minute of normal time when Danny Gibbons scored with a close range header after yet another corner kick had put the Nailers under extreme pressure.
The equaliser seemed to appease the home side but they could have paid dearly for taking their foot off the accelerator, as the Nailers should have sneaked a winner deep into added on time.
Dynamo were caught shorthanded at the back and Lee Morris looked set to score in a ‘one on one’, but Kahil Mann-Kler somehow got a hand to the ball; however Colin Marrison should have done much better with the rebound and failed to keep his shot down.
While the unbeaten run was maintained, this was evidence that the Nailers aren’t invincible and won’t always have things their own way.
Loughborough Dynamo: Mann-Kler, Jenno, Young, Noble, Gibbons, Betts, MacVicar (Mooney 73), Jarvis (Blackwell 64), Clarke, Henton, Lester. Unused subs: Sibson, Dale-Brown, Williams.
Belper Town: Turner, Pride, Magee, Meikle, Adams, O’Hare, Hindley (Leonard 75), Marrison, Froggatt (Whittington 85), Morris, Rushbury (Chambers 83). Unused subs: Graham, Stones.
Referee: S Eagland (West Midlands)