Late goals prove costly for Belper United in home loss to Southwell

Luke Crosby of Belper United
Luke Crosby of Belper United

Belper United lost 3-2 at home to Southwell City on Saturday in the CML South.

Manager Steve Watson was again having to juggle his injury-ravaged squad around.

Both sides made good starts to the game in what was looking like an even affair. Belper were getting the ball down better and playing football but Southwell were looking pacy and dangerous up front.

18 minutes in and Southwell City took the lead as poor defending on the right led to a shot from inside the 18-yard line and even though it a took a deflection, it sneaked into the bottom corner.

Five minutes later, the injury woes for Belper United continued with goalkeeper Scott Whittingham having to be replaced by Adam Jablonski after an hamstring injury.

Belper United had much the better of the rest of the first half and got a deserved equaliser after 35 minutes. Sam Vickers ghosted in from the right, went past four players on the touchline before scoring from close range, capping an excellent individual effort.

United came out in the second half and immediately took the lead. Luke Crosby picked up the ball 30 yards out and, with no one closing him down, smashed a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the 18-yard box. Without being great, Belper United looked to be easily holding out the game until 80 minutes but all of the sudden, they ran out of steam and the injuries woes bit hard.

Dan Riley, who was suffering from cramp, was replaced by Jon Poplar. Sam Vickers also needed to be replaced by Curtis Fallows. With all the substitutions made Craig Riley also came up lame as well, being sent up front out of the way and Tim Perry covering in the centre of defence.

Southwell City sniffed an opportunity and pushed forward and, with 88 minutes got a equaliser. The ball looked like it could have been cleared but was scrambled in from close range and to make matters worse, deep into injury time a very poor defensive header by Adam Moss fell to a Southwell striker who easily slotted passed Jablonski for a 3-2 victory.

Steve Watson said: “We are all very disappointed that we couldn’t hold out for the victory, but the injury problems are now affecting the side.

“We now have a whole week to recover before the next game away at Calverton MW.

“Unfortunately, the need to bolster the squad the side must be taken as a priority, as the squad is shrinking rapidly due to injury, and will affect our title aspirations in the long run.”