The first competitive game at the newly named Marston’s Stadium saw the Belper Town claim their first point of the season as they venture into the unknown territory of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
As opening fixtures come, this one could not have been more difficult as those in yellow faced last season’s play-off finalists, Ashton United.
It proved a difficult first half as the Nailers conceded two early goals. However, the second half saw an inspiring change in fortunes as Belper came back to score two goals, and had further chances to win the game late on.
Manager Peter Duffield was left pleasantly pleased with his side’s character and determination, hoping that will prove key to a successful season.
“At half-time, we all thought the game was over, and we felt if we didn’t lift our game, we could end up losing by four or five goals.”
“The second half showed what we’re all about. We came out with a point to prove and in the end we feel we could have won the game. It’s great that we know we can come back from two-goal deficits, however it’s not something we want to have to do every week.”
“We are a very young side, which is new to this team as the last few years we’ve been a little older and more experienced. It gives us a little more energy which will be important in this league as it’s a faster pace, but we still need that experience and we have players who have played in this league which will be vital.”
Duffield feels his team will benefit from Saturday’s game, as it will be a stern lesson going into the rest of the season’s game. “There are some negatives from the game, but also plenty of positives. One of the positives is that the first half taught us a lesson that we can’t show teams like Ashton and this league too much respect, otherwise we’ll be punished.”
“One of the disappointing things from that game was the incident that saw all those yellows cards come out. Football is an emotional game and it’s healthy to sometimes have players arguing as it can help lift peoples spirits a little.
“As long as there are no raised arms or no pushing and shoving, then it’s fine. If we are going to get cards for things like that every week, then every team is going to get lots of suspensions this season. We hope that was a one-off.”
The Nailers were due to travel last night (Tuesday) to last season’s Division One champions Halesowen Town, after the News went to press.