First Division South
Belper Town 4
Stamford AFC 5
Belper Town emerged on the wrong end of a nine-goal thriller as Stamford inflicted the Nailers’ second home defeat in succession.
They were hoping to build on their excellent result at highflying Carlton Town on Bank Holiday Monday but were forced to make two changes to the starting line up.
Matt Plant was still unfit and his replacement for the Carlton game, Craig Laight hadn’t recovered from a knock he had received at the Bill Stokeld Stadium.
This meant a recall for Mark Barnard into the centre of the defence alongside Richard Adams.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas wasn’t 100% fit so he stepped down to the bench and Luke Fedorenko took his place, while Belper’s two recent signings Zeke Jenkins and Matty Thorpe were also named as substitutes.
The Daniels arrived at Christchurch Meadow having won just six of their 17 league outings and lying in 14th place in the league table.
Darryl Thomas got behind the Stamford defence inside the first minute but couldn’t get his cross past Chris Wright who claimed the ball on the edge of the six yard box.
Thomas did well again in the 5th minute although Russ Peel’s control was poor after Thomas had slipped the ball through intelligently, but the Nailers went ahead in spectacular fashion in the 8th minute when Jon Froggatt met Peel’s cross with a perfectly struck volley that flew into the corner of the net from 15 yards.
The Nailers were indebted to Ali Barcherini in the 14th minute when he made a double save, firstly to stop Tony Battersby’s 18 yard effort that looked set to go in just inside the near post, and then an even better one to prevent Ben Sedgemore tucking away the follow up.
Jon Froggatt attempted an angled drive from a Luke Fedorenko 30 yard pass in the 20th minute, but the Daniels had recovered from their lethargic start and were beginning to trouble Belper with some tidy man-to-man football.
And almost inevitably this led to an equaliser in the 23rd minute when Andy Toyne received an infield pass just outside the penalty area and took a couple of strides before despatching a low drive into the far corner.
The Nailers were caught again in the 26th minute when Battersby released the unmarked Nathan Adams who only had Barcherini to beat, but the Belper ‘keeper did enough to put him off, and the shot went wide.
Luke Fedorenko earned the right to have a pot at goal when he took the ball off Nick Jackson on the edge of the penalty area but his well struck shot was at a nice height for the ‘keeper.
Darryl Thomas was inches away from regaining the lead for Belper after running onto a Fedorenko pass and turning Jackson expertly, however his curling shot was brilliantly saved by Wright who tipped the ball over the cross bar.
The Nailers were playing well at this stage and they were rewarded on 39 minutes when Darryl Thomas regained the lead when he escaped his marker on the left before cutting inside and firing a low shot into the net.
Thomas should have made it three just before the half time whistle when he escaped the attentions of the Daniels’ defence put scooped the ball over the top with only the ‘keeper to beat.
The Nailers should have opened a two goal gap in the 47th minute when Luke Fedorenko put a great chance wide from 12 yards, but soon afterwards things began to go wrong for the Nailers starting in the 50th minute when Dan Cotton converted a spot kick after Richard Adams fouled Nathan Adams although the Stamford striker still managed to get his shot in.
Andy Rushbury was unlucky two minutes later when he struck a half volley with venom but the ball flew to Wright at head height.
More misery befell the Nailers on 56 minutes when Mark Barnard headed into his own goal and five minutes later Belper’s failure to clear the ball led to a fourth from Stamford as Dan Cotton squeezed a shot inside the near post.
The Nailers gave themselves a chance by reducing the deficit to one goal after Russ Peel snapped up a half chance with a left footed drive just inside the far post and set up an exiting final 15 minutes.
Despite having virtually all the play the Nailers were caught on the break in the 84th minute and Nathan Adams found time and space to fire home into the bottom corner.
Belper responded two minutes later when Darryl Thomas took advantage of slack defending to blast a close range effort past a static ‘keeper, but almost straight from the restart Lee Thompson acrobatically kicked off the line to prevent a Stamford sixth.
Belper pressurised the Daniels’ goal constantly but just couldn’t fashion an equaliser, and once again were left to reflect on a sloppy defensive home display and the lack of a killer instinct in front of goal.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Thompson, Darker, Adams R, Barnard (Simmons 67), Fedorenko (Wiggins-Thomas 60), Rushbury (Thorpe 60), Froggatt, Thomas, Peel. Subs. not used: Wood, Jenkins.
Stamford: Wright, Millson, Jackson, Burkett, Chamberlain, Sedgemore, Walton, Toyne (Hill 72), Battersby, Adams N, Cotton. Subs. not used: Clark.
Referee: Mark Hutchinson (Bingham)
Match sponsor: Lubrizol, Belper.
Man of the match: Jon Froggatt..