Belper Town gave their supporters the perfect Christmas present with a 3-1 victory over Shepshed Dynamo last Saturday, and the nature of their performance gave hope for the future.
Nailers’ boss Peter Duffield has always said that he is building a team for next season and there was another new face to join three that arrived at Christchurch Meadow the previous week.
Chris Adam signed from Stocksbridge Park Steels and went straight into the side against Dynamo joining Gavin Saxby and Aron Wint who were also making their league debuts.
“I thought we looked a bit nervous in the first half,” said Duffield, “which isn’t surprising when you consider the run of results we had especially at home.”
“We should have won by a greater margin because in the second half we hit the post twice and missed two or three good chances.”
“With Adam and Wint in the side we’ve now got the pace I’ve been wanting and that showed it the second half when we created plenty of promising positions.”
“Chris Adam was excellent,” said Duffield, “I played with him a few years ago at Frickley, his attitude is first class I’m really pleased to have signed him.”
Duffield was pleased to see his main strikers get on the scoresheet after a barren spell and Jon Froggatt struck twice with Ashley Longstaff getting the other.
“It’s important for confidence that strikers score goals and it was good to see Froggy get a couple and Ash took his goal well too,” said Duffield.
There a few eyebrows raised when Gavin Saxby was named in the side ahead of Andy Richmond last Saturday, but Duffield thought it was the right moment to give Saxby his opportunity.
“Andy’s made some great saves for us this season, but we have been letting too many goals although an ever -hanging defence hasn’t helped,” he explained.
“One or two errors have crept in recently so I thought it was time to put Gavin in there and I thought he did well despite the fact he didn’t have a great deal to do and couldn’t be faulted for their goal that came about from a deflected shot.”
Saxby’s arrival has cast a shadow over the future of Tom Turner at Christchurch Meadow although one of the reasons for Saxby’s arrival is the fact that Turner is currently suffering back problems.
Damien Magee’s sudden departure left a vacancy a left back that his been filled it seems by Charlie Weir who has looked very solid in the role.
“Charlie is always telling me that it’s his best position although I like to see him play on the left of midfield, but he was exceptional on Saturday as he kept their dangerous winger quiet for most of the game,” said Duffield.
The Nailers crashed out of the Derbyshire Senior Cup in midweek by conceding nine goals against a very strong Derby County side, although Belper acquitted themselves very well and scored three well-taken goals in reply.
“No team likes to concede that many goals and I reckon five or six would have been a more reasonable score but we played a Rams side that showed excellent professionalism throughout,” said Duffield.
“I was impressed with their attitude because they kept going for the full 90 minutes and never let up and there is no shame in losing to a team that has as many talented professionals in the side that they had.”
Duffield has also been impressed with the level of vocal support that his team is getting despite the recent poor run of results.
“It’s really appreciated by the players and management staff went we get applauded off the field like we did last Saturday,” he said.
“I know it’s been a bit hard going but I know they appreciate that we are building a team for the future and everyone can see what we are trying to do.”
“I would like to thank everyone for their support they have given me and the team and wish them a very happy Christmas.”
The Nailers are next in action on Boxing Day (Monday 26th) when Sheffield FC provide attractive opposition at Christchurch Meadow, and on Monday, January 2, when they travel the short distance to Ilkeston FC. Both games have a 3pm kick off.