Relegated Belper Town let further points slip away after Grantham Town defeat

Grantham players celebrate a goal. Pic by Tim Harrison
Grantham players celebrate a goal. Pic by Tim Harrison
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Not for the first time this season Belper Town let points slip away late in the game as they were beaten 2-1 at home to Grantham Town.

After registering only their fouth league victory of the season at home to Halesowen in midweek, the Nailers were looking to build on their improved form by claiming another three points from Grantham Town.

Match action from Belper Town's 2-1 defeat. Pic by Tim Harrison

Match action from Belper Town's 2-1 defeat. Pic by Tim Harrison

There were no less than seven ex Grantham players in Belper Town’s line with ex Gingerbreads’ manager Jimmy Albans being the obvious link.

The Nailers came close to taking the lead on seven minutes when Nabil Sharrif fired a low drive that Jake Turner parried and Ben Turner hit an angle shot into the side netting from the rebound.

Grantham’s Michael Hollingsworth struck a fine effort over the bar after a corner kick had been cleared of the line.

Laurie Wilson’s misguided shot went wide on the 28th minute and shortly afterwards the Gingerbreads took the lead in the 32nd minute when Michael Hollingsworth struck a fine shot from 25 yards that gave Dan Haystead absolutely no chance.

Match action from Belper Town's 2-1 defeat. Pic by Tim Harrison

Match action from Belper Town's 2-1 defeat. Pic by Tim Harrison

The visitors came close to grabbing a second goal in the 40th minute when Liam Read skipped past Haystead to hit an angled shot that was cleared off the line.

In a dominant last few minutes Michael Emmet went close with a curling shot and Danny Meadows’ free kick flew just over the bar.

The second period began in the same vein as the first half left off and in the 48th minute Gingerbreads’ skipper and briefly a former Belper player Sam Purcicoe hit a volley over the bar

Paul Grimes went close for Belper with a 51st minute free kick, and following a period of Belper pressure Rhys Lewis bundled over Paul Grimes on 57 minutes and Grimes recovered to slot home the penalty kick with aplomb.

For a spell the Nailers looked capable of going for maximum points, but Danny Meadows nearly restored Grantham’s lead with a dipping shot on the hour mark.

Belper created some promising situations but couldn’t provide a decisive finish.

Paul Grimes shot across the face of goal and Rob Stevenson curled a shot wide in the space of 90 seconds, but the visitors came back into the game and forced the Nailers to defend solidly.

Dan Haystead saved brilliantly from Liam Hurst on 64 minutes when the Grantham player had only the ‘keeper to beat, then Liam Read saw a fierce ground shot blocked by Kern Miller on 72 minutes.

Read had another effort saved moments later before the Nailers created a great chance in the 79th minute when Rob Stevenson cut inside and curled a shot wide when there were arguably better options.

The Gingerbreads looked the stronger in the dying minutes and Liam Hurst forced Haystead into another great stop, but when Grantham’s winner came in the 88th minute the Belper custodian was dismayed to see a soft shot from substitute Lee Ndlouv wriggle under his body and over the goal line.

It was another cruel ending to a positive Belper Town performance and a scenario that his been so prevalent this season, and while the visitors probably deserved their victory on the basis of shots on target, a share of the points would have also been justified.

Belper Town FC: Haystead, Turner, Matthews (Williams 66), Lister, Miller, Watt, Wilson, Warne (Towey 61), Grimes, Sharrif (Froggatt 80), Stevenson . Unused subs: Varley, Garnett).

Grantham Town FC: Turner, Purcicoe, Wholey, Hollingsworth, Hellewell, Meadows, Read (Bilyk 90), Lewis, Emmett (Rawdon 70), Saunders (Ndlouv 70), Hurst. Unused subs: Johnson, Duffy.

Referee: Paul Thompson (Chesterfield)

Att: 302.