*

editorial image

Belper Town manager Peter Duffield has said he considered resigning after watching his team lose their play-off semi-final to eventual promotion winners Stamford on Bank Holiday Monday.

He was understandably devastated after the loss but, upon reflection, has said he will be having ‘another crack’ at promotion next season.

He said: “I was absolutely gutted to go out of the play-offs the way we did and we blew it, there’s no other way to describe it.

“I felt I had let everyone at the club down and I was in a very dark place on Monday evening. We just didn’t live up to the expectation and I can only apologise to the directors and supporters, who must have thought that this was going to be our year.”

“Mick, Shaun and me were so cut up about it I phoned the chairman and told him we were going to resign, but he said to think it over first, and, in the cold light of day, we now know that we want another crack at it so we are already planning for next season.

“Ilkeston manager Kevin Wilson rang me and told me I mustn’t walk away and made me realise that I still had a job to do at Belper, and Jon Froggatt was on the ‘phone persuading me to carry on too.

‘The support we have had all season has been fantastic and was a key reason for us wanting to continue so we will go again next season.”

“I have a fantastic bunch of players and they have been brilliant all season and I know they took defeat very hard indeed, but we will all bounce back and try again next season.”

It all started so well for the Nailers as they stormed into a 2-0 lead but Duffield felt that the game turned on a penalty claim that was turned down when Simon Harrison was impeded, but the referee chose to ignore Belper appeals.

“From then on things went against us,” he said.

“We made a mistake to give them a goal back and then lost Steve Warne and Simon Harrison with injuries and we just weren’t in it in the second half.

“You have to give credit to Stamford who recovered brilliantly from a poor start, and they were the best side overall and deserved their victory.”

n Continued on page 35

Duffield was unhappy with some of the referee’s decisions, including two penalty claims that he feels were ignored.

Despite the disappointing finale the Nailers, have had an excellent season and their 23-game unbeaten run will take some beating by any side at any level.

Belper will now take a few weeks off before reconvening and making a fresh attempt to elevate them to the Premier Division and play at the level they have aspired to for so many seasons.