IN-FORM Belper Town chalked up two more excellent away wins last week to keep themselves on the fringes of the play-off places.
The Nailers have now reached the heady heights of sixth pace in the league table, a tremendous achievement in itself, but now need someone to do them a favour against Leek Town who hold a five-point advantage as things stand.
The Nailers have an opportunity to claw back three points when they play the Staffordshire side at Christchurch Meadow in the penultimate game of the season but still need them to drop at least two points at some stage during the remaining five games.
However, manager Peter Duffield still refuses to get drawn on whether his Belper Town side are likely to be in the play-offs, and looks no further than the next game.
“We need to be especially wary of Romulus next Saturday,” he said, “because after our performances over the past few games it would be wrong to think it will be a formality just because they are at the wrong end of the table.
“There are no easy games for us in the run in now and wherever we end up in the table after our final game, it’s important that we have done our best and kept doing the right things.”
Duffield is quite rightly proud of his team’s performances and emphasised how different each of the last three games were and how well his team adapted to the circumstances.
“The Lincoln game was tough as I said it would be and I knew they would take the game to us despite it being at Christchurch Meadow, but we defended well when we needed to and scored at the right time, however we knew we had been in a game by the end.”
“New Mills edged the first half I think but we were superb after the break and our three goals emphasised the authority and confidence that the team has,” said Duffield.
“Last Saturday’s game was as different again,” he said.
“A hard bumpy pitch didn’t help either side and we had to defend really well at times as Coalville had some good spells, but when you are capable of scoring the quality goals that we did it there’s always a chance that you can turn the game in your favour.”
Duffield described his defence as immense with Michael Simpkins and Dan White dominant against an awkward strike force that included former Belper player Danny Davidson.
Such was White’s display that he can be forgiven the own goal that produced an equaliser early in the second half, although he had little chance to avoid it as the cross that came in to the near post was driven at high speed.
Ashley Longstaff’s emergence as a deadly striker started with the Hucknall game and continued in dramatic style with a well-taken brace at New Mills last Monday evening, and then hit a beauty against Coalville to make it four goals in as many games.
Jon Froggatt quickly reached the 30-goal mark for the season in the last week and hit a superb 31st last Saturday cementing his status as the division’s leading scorer.
“It’s the perfect scenario at the moment,” said Duffield, “we have three strikers all getting goals and there’s still Jordan Turner patiently waiting for his chance to shine.”
Duffield was also very appreciative of the support his team received from the sizeable travelling fans who made their voices heard for most of the game.”
“It lifts players when they hear that kind of noise from supporters especially on away grounds and even when they got an equaliser they were still shouting and cheering, and that boosts players’ confidence.”
The Nailers kick-off their Easter programme with a home game against Romulus on Saturday then travel to Dronfield to face Sheffield FC on Easter Monday – both games have a 3pm kick off.