Belper Town’s growing momentum took a blow on Saturday at the hands of Lincoln United as they lost 4-1.
Manager Peter Duffield was forced to make a late change with Simon Harrison carrying an injury, meaning Chris Adam went to the right of midfield, Chris Jones switched to left fullback and Sam Purcicoe made a start for the Nailers at right fullback.
The first chance fell for the Nailers on the fourth minute after a corner by Sam Duncum was spilled by the ‘keeper and fell for Mark Ward on the left of the six-yard box, but his strike whistled over.
Belper then suffered their first blow of the game when Lincoln took the lead against the run of play on the ninth minute. A Nailers’ free kick in a dangerous area was defended well and cleared to Matthew Langham on the right hand side, who began powering towards the Nailers’ penalty box.
Langham then fired the ball across goal to the unmarked Alexander Simmons on the edge of box, who took his touch and drilled the ball sweetly into the top right corner, giving Ratcliffe no chance.
The Nailers did their best to respond and produced a fine move which put Lincoln on the back foot.
Only for a timely interception from Batchelor denied Jon Froggatt a chance for a tap in at the back post.
But two goals in the space of 120 seconds for Lincoln all but put the game beyond the reach of the Nailers. A corner from the left was whipped in and a point blank header by Batchelor was aimed straight at ‘keeper Ratcliffe, only for the follow-up shot by Stuart Reddington from close range to hit the back of the net on the 36th minute.
The next attack was then the major sucker punch. Nathan Modest struck a sweet free kick from 20 yards, which was tipped away to the left by Ratcliffe, only for Alexander Simmons to tap in.
The second half saw an improvement by the Nailers as they kept the pressure on their opponents. They got their goal back on the 64th minute when Mark Ward stole in to place the ball well to the ‘keeper’s left.
Belper then had three efforts which all went begging. The first was for Purcicoe, who received the ball 35 yards from goal and then attempted a speculative effort which rose three yards over the bar. Substitute Kieran Wells had a glorious opportunity to put Belper back into the game after a cross came in from the left and Jon Froggatt brought it down for Wells, who stabbed the ball wid. Froggatt then had an opportunity when he brought the ball down and his shot was fired low but saved comfortably by Turner.