Belper Town kickstarted their Evo-Stik League Premier Division campaign with a stunning comeback at the Marston’s Stadium on Saturday against a promotion chasing Ashton United side.
This highly anticipated game saw a healthy crowd of 280 supporters with an array of new flags to wave on their side.
Perhaps justifiably, it was Ashton who took the lead through a quick corner kick from the left after just nine minutes. The ball fell to midfield dynamo Chris Baguley eventually, who curled in the shot first time which was struck well and later deflected by a head, risinh over keeper Martin into the top corner.
The Nailers then had their first genuine chance to equalise after 13 minutes. Steve Warne fired a shot which landed inches past the left hand post, with the goalkeeper beaten.
Then, two minutes later the Nailers found themselves two goals down. Richard Bennett fired a brilliant half-volley from inside the box which was saved well by Martin. The ball came out to Coppin, who crossed the ball to the back post towards Bennett again, who this time headed the ball into the far corner.
Aaron Cole then began to find his feet as he started to torment the full back, creating two good opportunities from the right, beating his man for skill and pace and delivering inch perfect crosses for both Mark Ward and Rob Stevenson, who both saw their headers land comfortably into the goalkeepers’ arms.
James Martin then made a good save close to half-time as Bennett drilled in another header towards the corner, with Martin plunging to keep hold of the ball.
The second half saw a swing in the pendulum, with an inspired Kieran Wells coming off the bench to change the game for the better. The home side got their first goal after 63 minutes after a wonderful move involving Rob Stevenson and Aaron Cole.
Stevenson picked the ball up on the left and cut inside, beating two players. Then, faking the shot, Stevenson chipped the ball delightfully in to Aaron Cole inside the area, who in turn drilled a half volleyed cross across the face of the goal where Wells was there to glance in the header into an empty net
Then, after 69 minutes, the Nailers got their much deserved equaliser.
A foul on the left won Belper a free kick in a good crossing position. Ian Ross was on duty, crossing the ball in for Froggatt who glanced the header on, and Regan Edridge arrived at the back post to nod in the Nailers second goal.
Edridge soon had another header drift just over the bar, and two more Kieran Wells chances came close to earning the Nailers all three points.
A brilliant run by Stevenson beating two men down the outside and getting to the by-line, saw the number 11 pull the cross back in to Wells who took a touch and saw a low shot blocked well by the defender to take the sting out of the strike.