Belper Town manager Peter Duffield looked back on the Christmas and New Year period with pride after taking maximum points from the three games played.
The Nailers hit five at Sheffield on Boxing Day and won a potentially tricky local derby against Mickleover on New Year’s Day after going down to ten men in the first half.
However, he was particularly pleased with his team’s win at Rainworth Miners Welfare, after conceding an equaliser at the start of the second half.
“It was a poor goal to concede and I thought for a moment that we might struggle against Rainworth, who are a good side, but we came back really well and, despite winning with a penalty and an own goal in the last three minutes of the game, we fully deserved our victory.
“We’ve scored ten and conceded two goals in the last three games, but more importantly we look strong now in all areas of the park.”
However, Duffield warned that nothing had been achieved yet and there was a long way to go before they could congratulate themselves on anything.
“We are looking strong throughout nowadays and with Chris Adam coming back from Sheffield and defender Matt Millns joining us, we have got competition for all positions and that’s a great position to be in as a manager.”
Defender Karl Colley was withdrawn as early as the 34th minute after being booked and seemingly at odds with some of the referee’s decisions.
“We thought it best to replace him to avoid any further conflict with the referee and with Richard Adams available on the bench, it gave him the opportunity to get back into his stride, and he did really well, for saying how long he’s has been out action.”
Belper had to survive nearly 60 minutes against Mickleover with ten men but still ran out 2-0 winners, and Duffield was full of praise for his team.
“We had to work exceptionally hard to cover for the missing man and I thought that for most of the second half. it was hard to tell which side was numerically disadvantaged.”
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“Earlier in the season, we could easily have lost in that situation but we are very resilient nowadays and the spirit and togetherness we have in this squad is shining through in my opinion.”
Former fans’ favourite Dan White was on the bench for Rainworth on Saturday and it wasn’t clear why he left Christchurch Meadow after such a successful spell last season.
“Dan’s been quoted as saying that we have had ‘a fall out’ but that’s not the case as far as I’m concerned,” explained Duffield.
“There’s no way I wanted him to leave and I even made him captain so, but for some reason he kept letting me down, saying he wasn’t available for games, and in the end he stopped coming in for treatment for injuries and training.
“He’s a great player and I wish him well but I didn’t drive him away from the club, it was his decision to move on in the end.”
This weekend, Belper, who are sitting in fith place in the table, face Market Drayton Town at Christchurch Meadow and then on Tuesday go to the Proact Stadium to face a Chesterfield XI in the Derbyshire Senior Cup.