A dominant display but crucial goal proves elusive

South Normanton Athletic v Belper Amateurs.
South Normanton Athletic v Belper Amateurs.
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Belper United made the short journey to South Normanton on Saturday with both sides looking to prove their Central Midlands League title credentials.

Steve Watson had Ben Summers missing with an ankle injury. Scott Clapperton and Sam Vickers returned to the line-up and Adam Moss replaced Craig Riley at left back.

Both sides started in a cagey manner, trying to suss out the other side’s intentions.

Andrew Mottershead and Lee Sutton were giving the United defence a hard time while the pace and creativity of Luke Crosby and Sam Vickers was having the same effect on the South Normanton back four. Both sides seemed to be cancelling themselves out.

On 35 minutes, this all changed. Dan Riley broke from midfield and fed the ball to Luke Crosby.

Crosby put in an exquisite cross for Jordan McRobie to head home. Within 30 seconds, South Normanton equalised with a virtual carbon copy of the Belper goal. Tommy Leighton dug out an excellent cross to the back post for Lee Sutton to head into an empty net.

Belper came out in the second half the more purposeful side. Out wide, Sam Vickers and Josh Wisdom were giving the South Normanton full-backs a torrid time but for all their dominance Belper United couldn’t get the goal the play deserved.

Former Belper United custodian Scott Whittingham proved to be in fine form for South Normanton and pulled off a string of excellent saves, and one fine double stop

After 70 minutes, South Normanton came back into the game, and switching Tommy Leighton to wide left seemed to make the difference. Adam Jablonski was then called into action but on 80 minutes was unable to keep out the eventual winner, a neat ball behind the defence unlocked United and Adam Jablonski pulled off a fine save to keep out the first effort, but with all the United defence running back to cover the goal, the ball was left to Mottershead to score.the winner ..