Belper Town’s promotion bid ended in deep disappointment on Bank Holiday Monday after they were beaten 4-2 by Stamford, who will now go on and face Chasetown in the play-off final.
The Nailers welcomed the Daniels to Christchurch Meadow for this play off semi final and the game kicked off in glorious May sunshine in front of a large bank holiday crowd of 620.
The Nailers made a tremendous start to the game by going 2-0 up inside the first 12 minutes.
Glyn Cotton’s driven effort from the edge of the penalty area came after Simon Harrison set him up following a corner kick, and Belper followed this up with a second six minutes later after some great retrieving work from Harrison culminated in Jon Froggatt’s close range finish from the resulting cross.
The Nailers should have made it three on 17 minutes when Froggatt had a free run after Liam Richardson’s header put him in possession, but he put his shot the wrong side of the post when it would seem certain he would have scored.
Danny Brooks came close for the visitors with a looping shot onto the cross bar, but things started to go wrong for the Nailers in the 20th minute when the Daniels pulled one back.
Shaun Roulston missed a challenge in the middle of the park, and the ball was played through to Ricky Miller, who hit a fine shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.
The Nailers had a penalty appeal waived away when Richard Jones appeared to haul down Jon Froggatt on 30 minutes.
Glyn Cotton delayed his passing choice too long when he ran though in the 36th minute as he had options left and right of him, then Belper suffered a blow in the 44th minute when skipper Steve Warne had to leave the field with an injury and was replaced by Colin Marrison.
Stamford came out for the second half in determined mood and dominated proceedings from then on.
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Belper suffered another blow when Simon Harrison had to go off, and the Daniels began to gain control of midfield and force Belper further and further back.
However, Glyn Cotton burst through and had his shot blocked in the 57th minute as the Nailers searched for a third goal against the run of play, although Stamford nearly equalised on 67 minutes when substitute Ben Saunders headed a far post cross goal bound that Aaron Chapman managed to push around the post at full stretch.
A needless free-kick given away by Chris Adam led to the Daniels’ equaliser on 70 minutes when Danny Brook’s low free kick took a slight deflection off Ricky Miller, which was enough to deceive Chapman and end up in the net.
The Nailers stemmed the flow of a rampant Stamford in the latter stages but chances were at a premium for the Nailers who struggled to create opportunities against Stamford.
Jon Froggatt was in possession in the 86th minute but his cross into the box was cut out by a defender, then Matt Finlay got the slightest of touches to deny Froggatt a far post header from Chris Adam’s cross.
Andy Hall swapped passes with Jordan Hempenstall in added on time but Aaron Chapman came out bravely to make the block and sent the game into extra time. Ricky Miller had a half-chance but hit his shot straight at Aaron Chapman in the 91st minute, then Chris Adam put over a great cross a minute later that Shaun Tuton headed just wide.
Chapman came to Belper’s rescue in the 96th minute when he blocked Ben Saunders’ close range effort, but Ricky Miller was clearly offside before the opportunity presented itself.
Eric Graves had an opening in the 105th minute when Jon Froggatt nudged the ball to his right but the shot flashed past the far post.
Stamford were gifted a penalty in the 105th minute when Aaron Chapman’s clumsy challenge left Andy Hall sprawling and it was the same player who stepped up blast the spot kick high into the net.
The Nailers were looking tired at this stage and Stamford were controlling midfield and looking dangerous with every attack.
Chapman saved from Ricky Miller when it looked easier to score but it was all over for the Nailers in the 120th minute when Shaun Richards took the ball off Glyn Cotton and ran on to score past Aaron Chapman and end Belper hopes of promotion for another year.
Belper Town: Chapman, Roulston, Wright, Cotton, White, Adams, Harrison (49), Warne (Marrison 44), Froggatt, Tuton, Graves (Ward 105). Unused subs: Rushbury, Ratcliffe.
Stamford: Finlay, Wright S, Saunders S, Maddox, Jones, Richardson, Hall, Brooks, Miller (Richards 116), Hempenstall (Byrne 113, Ozmen (Saunders B 65). Unused subs: Batchelor, Staff.
Referee: Dave Plowright (Clipstone)