BELPER Town boss David Carney cursed his side’s luck after Saturday’s draw against Rainworth, but had no complaints about his players’ efforts as the Nailers’ run of victories came to an end.
The resurgence in form had continued in midweek with an excellent victory over Newcastle Town, but faltered slightly at Christchurch Meadow when Belper should really have made it four wins in four.
The win at Newcastle saw Jon Froggatt score twice and Nicky Darker hit his first goal for the Nailers, though Daryl Thomas was sent off late on and will receive a two-match ban.
Carney said: “We worked very hard for that victory. The game ebbed and flowed but it was the injustice of their second goal that came from the hand ball that really spurred us on.”
“The penalty award was welcome although I didn’t see any foul, but I think the referee could have been levelling things up and we took the opportunity gratefully.”
Belper have played with freedom and confidence away from home recently and the big question was whether the players could reproduce the same form in front of their own supporters.
The gate for Saturday’s visit of Rainworth was swelled by ardent football followers desperate to see a game after all local matches were postponed, Belper’s Christchurch Meadow ground the only one to escape the weather.
Rainworth had struggled to make an impact for most of the season but had seen an improvement under new manager Billy Millar and to their credit their heads never went down even after falling behind, and eventually secured a draw with an equaliser nine minutes before the end.
Carney said: “The penalty decision for their first goal was very harsh and it turned the game because until then we were in control.”
“Their confidence levels went up but despite this we created opportunities to seal the game and missed them.”
“I can’t fault the players’ efforts, they gave everything so I’ve no complaints there, but it just didn’t go for us.”
Kyle Hadley’s stay as a Belper player was short-lived as Harrogate Town recalled him after not having much opportunity to shine in just two appearances against Shepshed and Lincoln.
Andy Rushbury limped off early in the Newcastle game with a hamstring strain and wasn’t involved on Saturday despite being named as a substitute, while Aaron Pride will have to be patient after serving his three game suspension as he also had to be satisfied with a place on the bench.
Liam Davis has been given his opportunity to show what he can do after being selected in a midfield role against Lincoln, Newcastle and Rainworth.
He originally made his debut in the home defeat against Kidsgrove at left-back, and then was selected again against Sutton Coldfield, but Mark Barnard replaced him for the next two games, and Kallum Keane’s arrival saw Richard Adams take over the left-back slot.
Davis has worked industrially in midfield and has played his part in the team’s winning run, however with Rushbury and Russ Peel all vying for a similar role, competition is tough.
Nicky Darker has proved himself to be an excellent signing and his energy and enthusiasm was missed last Saturday, but his suspension was just for one game and he should be back in contention for the midweek home clash against Rushall (Tues 22nd).
Meanwhile, reserve midfield player Darren Cartwright was given his first taste of Evo-Stik League football with Belper as he made his first team debut when he came on with 15 minutes to go as a replacement for Matty Thorpe.
Games continue to come thick and fast and next Saturday the Nailers face the ultimate test as they travel to league leaders Barwell, then have a free midweek before facing Quorn on Saturday, March 5.