Relegation threat is all but removed

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BELPER Town resumed their league programme after a three week break with a win against basement club Quorn FC last Saturday.

The game won’t be remembered as a classic by any means but a more significant statistic is that this was their fourth win in six games and banishes any outside chances that the Nailers would be sucked into a relegation situation.

Chris Adam’s injury time winner lifted an otherwise low-key game and gave the Nailers a three-point haul that never really looked likely and most onlookers had probably already settled for a draw.

Belper manager Peter Duffield acknowledged that it hadn’t been one his side’s better displays but was happy to take the win.

“It’s wasn’t a great performance, but two months ago we could easily have lost that game,” he said.

“The conditions didn’t help either team and the ball spent too much time in the air, but what we did show is resilience and determination, and Chris Adam’s goal from a pass by Mark Ward was a worthy winner.”

“It’s nice for us to get a late goal because we have been on the end of too many scored against us so it was a welcome change, and I’m pleased for Chris who has done really well for us since he came to the club.”

“It’s difficult for players to pick up where they left off when there’s an enforced break, and we seemed to have taken a step or two back from the performance we gave against Newcastle.”

“Another important factor is that the players are still getting to know each other and I’ll admit we didn’t reach the standard of football I’m looking for on a consistent basis.”

With less than a third of the season to go and nothing but pride to play for Duffield knows he has to keep his players motivated until the end of the season.

“We owe it to our supporters to continue to give 100 per cent in each game,” he said, “and we want to finish as high as we can in the league not just for our own satisfaction but because the players are fighting to be in the squad for next season too.”

One player who won’t be involved in the future is ‘keeper Andy Richmond who decided to move to Carlton Town during the recent lay off.

“Andy goes with our best wishes,” said Duffield, “there is no animosity between us and he was a great lad to work with and gave us no trouble at all.”

Richmond was highly regarded by Belper supporters and put in some great performances for the club, but lost his place to Gavin Saxby who took over following the Nailers’ 9-3 defeat against Derby County in the Derbyshire Senior Cup.

Colin Marrison is back in training after his recent knee operation and is set to start playing again in the next week or two.

“Colin’s doing really well and we’ll have him back very soon,” confirmed Duffield, “it will be like having two new signings because Ben Leonard has just come back from injury and we’ve got everyone available except Aaron Pride for this Saturday’s trip to Leek.”

Pride served his second of a three game suspension last Saturday and should be available for next Tuesday’s home game against Loughborough Dynamo.

Meanwhile Belper reserve side are on the verge of reaching the Derbyshire Divisional Cup final and meet Derby Rolls Royce at Christchurch Meadow in the semi final on Saturday.