Plenty of positives despite opening loss

Belper Town's Ruben Wiggins Thomas.
Belper Town's Ruben Wiggins Thomas.

Saturday. August 13, 2011

Evo-Stik Division One South

Newcastle Town 2 Belper Town 0

This was a disappointing start to the Tommy Taylor era although there were plenty of positives at the Lyme Valley Stadium.

Looking resplendent in their new kit, the Nailers started well and established a quick tempo.

Jon Froggatt nearly created a scoring opportunity in the second minute when he nudged the ball over the onrushing keeper but found himself surrounded by defenders.

The Nailers had caught their opponents on the back foot with their early vigour and enthusiasm and in the fourth minute Froggatt’s cross was headed just wide by Andy Rushbury, in his 295th game for the club.

Kyle Diskin sent a low tenth minute drive straight to Andy Richmond in the Belper goal, then the Nailers almost caught Newcastle cold in the 20th minute when Andy Rushbury’s early cross had the home defenders struggling to clear.

Nathan Sutton put a shot on the turn a yard wide two minutes later, but Newcastle caused very few problems for a Nailers side looking confident on the ball.

Belper went close again in the 30th minute when Rushbury headed a Ruben Wiggins-Thomas cross into the path of Deon Meikle, who hit a rising volley just over the crossbar.

Wiggins-Thomas did well to create an opening in the 33rd minute and unselfishly slipped the ball inside to the better placed Jon Froggatt, but Belper’s leading scorer from last season missed a great chance by scuffing wide.

The Nailers were then denied by the width of the post after Wiggins-Thomas was hauled down by David Whittaker, and Froggatt’s almost perfectly struck free kick agonisingly struck the upright with Dyson beaten.

The second half beckoned with much anticipation but sadly proved something of a let down as Newcastle upped their game. But it was an individual piece of brilliance from Tony Malbon that accelerated Belper’s decline.

The former Port Vale striker left Tommy Hannigan in his wake and the defender clumsily attempted to retrieve the ball, leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty kick that Malban coolly converted.

Now, the dominance that Belper had enjoyed in midfield slowly dissipated and Newcastle called the tune.

The Nailers only made sporadic appearances in the home team’s penalty area. However from one of these in the 53rd minute, Richard Adams headed Jamie Smith’s corner wide.

Belper’s best opening came in the 73rd minute when Ben Spargo latched on to a Wiggins-Thomas through-ball, but the Newcastle keeper managed to beat the ball away.

But Tony Malbon’s stunning volley in the 81st minute put an end to all Belper hopes.

Taylor kept his players out on the pitch for some time after the final whistle trying to understand how his side had lost a game that had appeared well within their capabilities of winning.

Newcastle Town: Dyson, Willis, Chadwick, Harper, Whittaker, Macpherson, Diskin (Blake 83), Askey, Sutton (Sawyer 72), Miller (Harrison 68). Unused subs: Bradbury, Ashman.

Belper Town: Richmond, Adams, Magee, Camm, Hannigan, O’Hare (Ortuno 81), Wiggins-Thomas, Meikle, Froggatt, Smith (Spargo 68), Rushbury (Davis 61). Unused subs: Thorpe, Pride.

Referee: N Hobbs (Birmingham)

Att: 147