Graves: Momentum key to Nailers form

Evan Garnett (right) in action against Basford on Saturday. Photo by Tim Harrison.
Evan Garnett (right) in action against Basford on Saturday. Photo by Tim Harrison.

Skipper Eric Graves believes the momentum gained from Belper Town’s unbeaten run gave them the belief to fight for a point at home to Basford United last Saturday.

Jon Williams’ penalty deep into injury-time secured a 1-1 draw and extended the Nailers’ run without a defeat to eight games.

That’s helped push them up to eighth place in the Evo-Stik Division One South table, and Graves is now keen to see that momentum continue.

He said: “Basford are a strong side and will have wanted revenge over us given we beat them in the cup earlier in the season.

“We didn’t play well at all but it’s testament to the good unbeaten run we’re on that we kept on going right until the end and salvaged a point. Earlier in the season we’d have lost that kind of game.

“But at the moment we’re working hard for each other and reaping the rewards. Over the season we’ve probably deserved this kind of run.”

The Nailers were due to host Bedworth United on Tuesday night, after the Belper News had gone to press, before a gap in the fixture schedule leaves them without another match until they are due to host Carlton Town on December 3.

And whilst the break may harm any positive momentum built up by Charlie Palmer’s side, Graves also thinks it could benefit the squad in the long run.

He said: “We’ve had a few injuries and this will give some lads the chance to get fit and return to the side.

“There’s the busy Christmas period coming up so to have a good break just before it may do us some good, and I’m pretty sure the gaffer won’t be too upset about it.

“We’ve played more games than most of those around us so we may drop a place or two while we’re not playing, but it’ll give us a more accurate idea of where we’re at once things level out a bit in terms of games played.”

In terms of the season as a whole, Graves remains confident Belper can maintain their push for a play-off spot as the season progresses.

He added: “We set targets at the start of the season but it wasn’t working so we instead focused on picking up points in every game and since then we’ve hit some great form.

“Evan Garnett coming back has helped a lot and the team has started scoring a lot more goals which was a problem for us at times earlier on.

“This is a division where anyone can beat anyone else so if we can have a good festive period and be in a strong position by mid-January, then I see no reason why we can’t then push on from there and be challenging come the end of the campaign.”