First Division South
Belper Town 0
Belper Town’s increasingly dire season continued with a single goal defeat to league leaders Barwell.
However, unlike in recent games the Nailers turned in a good performance against a well-organised side and in many ways were not rewarded for their efforts.
Outgoing Nailer’s manager Andy Carney made three changes to the side that lost to Romulus with Daryll Thomas, Liam Davis and new signing from Staveley Miner’s Welfare Jamie Smith replacing Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and Paris Simmons who dropped to the bench and Nicky Darker who served he first of a two match ban.
On a dry, bobbly pitch Belper began the game the brighter of the two sides with Jon Froggatt having the first real attempt in the third minute. However, as the game settled into a scrappy match, Barwell began to exert more pressure on the Nailer’s goal, but could not control the game.
The visitors almost broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, but Jai Stanley’s 25 yard free-kick stuck the Nailer’s cross-bar with Barcherini beaten.
Canary’s captain Scott Hadland replicated the fete in the 20th minute when his 30 yard shot beat Barcherini, but not the bar.
As the game reverted to either the long ball or disjointed patterns of play, both teams traded blows, but nothing that seriously troubled either goalkeeper.
However, the game came to life on the half hour mark, when the visitors scored what was to be the deciding goal.
As the both sides fought for possession, Jai Stanley capitalised on poor ball retention by the Belper defence and put through Luke Barlone who coolly slotted the ball past the advancing Barcherini.
Despite going behind, the Belper’s players reaction was positive. Froggatt almost made the perfect response a minute later, but his shot from a tight angle only found Morris’ side-netting.
Five minutes later, debutant Smith found himself in a good position after positive play from Thomas, but the former was unable to convert the chance from eight yards.
At the other end, Sanders almost caught Belper napping with a quick free-kick, but his shot went past both the scrambling Barcherini and the post.
As the half drew to a close, Froggatt’s inviting cross was met by Barwell’s Francis who appeared to shepherd the ball back to his ‘keeper with his arm, but the referee waved away Belper’s appeals for a spot-kick.
The second half began in much the same way as the first half ended with both sides creating half chances, but with neither side being able to totally control the game.
In the 54th minute Froggatt and Weir combined well to create a chance for Lee Thompson, but he was unable to keep his shot down. For the visitors, Nigel Julien’s shot was well blocked by Matt Plant and from the resulting corner Barcherini was first to respond to the loose ball to deny Guy Sanders a simple tap in.
Barcherini was again called into action a few minutes later to make a fine save from Hadland’s well struck shot and to deny a posse of Barwell players from the subsequent corner.
Jon Frogatt continued to battle up front, but with no real support his efforts were continually snubbed by the visitor’s defence.
However increasingly his team mates began to respond and, led by captain Froggatt, Belper’s sheer dogged determination began to give them the upper hand.
The closest Belper went to scoring during this period came in the 68th minute, when Daryll Thomas’s shot whistled across the face of the Barwell goal with none of the Belper attackers able to apply the finishing touch.
Substitute Wiggins-Thomas did have the ball in the net after a well worked training ground free-kick routine involving Davis, Thompson and Froggatt, but the linesman’s flag ruled out the effort.
As Belper increased the pressure they spent more and more time in the Barwell half, but were unable to convert their pressure into goals.
Barwell showed their defensive resilience and almost caught Belper napping in the 81st minute. A strong run and cross by Julien found Barlone who was denied a second goal by an excellent save from the Nailer’s ‘keeper.
As the game drew to a close, Belper reverted to a front five and despite throwing bodies into the box either the final ball was lacking or the sheer weight of Barwell numbers denied the Nailers a share of the points.
Despite not scoring for a fourth successive game and not recording a league point since February 19, the Christchurch Meadow faithful gave their team a much deserved standing ovation after a battling, if somewhat scrappy, performance.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Davis (Simmons 86), Thompson, Plant, Adams, Thorpe (Wiggins-Thomas 61), Smith, Frogatt (c), Thomas, Weir (Rushbury 74) Subs not used Barnard, Carney (GK)
Barwell: Morris, Lower, Hollist (Lillicrap 58), Sanders, Francis, Stanley, Julien (Orton 73), Hadland (c), Barlone, Charley, Dutton (Letts 81) Subs not used Scott, Rickards
Referee: Mr Matt Walsh (Sheffield)
Man of the match: Jon Froggatt
Match sponsor: Molson Coors
Ball sponsor: Buildbase
Next in action
Saturday, April 2 - EvoStik League First Division South - BELPER TOWN v Market Drayton Town, 3pm.
Tuesday, April 5 - Evostik League President’s Cup Final - BELPER TOWN v Lancaster City at Witton Albion FC, 7.45pm.