Central Midlands League
Premier Division South
Belper United 1
Basford United 2
A LAST minute penalty save by the visiting keeper denied Belper any share of the spoils.
However, United can be pleased they pushed the league leaders all the way.
Kyle Wadsworth and Adam Taylor returned for United and they also gave a debut to new signing Mick Allsop formerly with Belper Town and Long Eaton United.
Belper immediately began on the offensive and within two minutes had taken the lead. Hemmings crossed from the left and Richard Searston met the ball powerfully to head into the corner of the goal.
The hosts continued to dominate possession in the first half hour but failed to create a clear scoring opportunity.
Basford slowly forced their way back into the game with their attack showing plenty of pace but Belper’s defence looked comfortable.
As the game entered the last minute before half time Basford won a corner, the ball was knocked in from the left but was only partially cleared leaving Tian Watson a half-chance and he lashed the ball into the net on the half volley. The shot went in off the post leaving keeper Jablonski and the defence frustrated that they had conceded on the stroke of half time.
Basford came out for the second half with renewed belief and quickly got into their stride, dominating possession and forcing Belper back.
However the home defence and midfield limited the visitors to long range efforts and their crosses were dealt with comfortably by Jablonski in the Belper goal.
There were strong appeals for a penalty by Basford on the hour mark but the referee deemed it to be ball to hand and not deliberate.
Eventually Basford made their pressure tell. They worked the ball down the left and delivered a cross into the box which was headed clear but it fell to Danny Garmston who struck a fantastic volley from the edge of the penalty area, the quality and pace of the strike again gave the Belper keeper no chance.
Belper pushed an extra man forward in an attempt to get back into the game and forced Basford back into their half but they defended doggedly and seemed to be happy to take what they had.
In stoppage time Belper played the ball into the area to Tony Hemmings who was challenged by the Basford centre half who the referee adjudged to have handled the ball.
Despite desperate protests the penalty was awarded and Hemmings strode forward to take it.
Although he struck it cleanly it was at a good height and the Basford keeper made a fine save diving to his left from what was virtually the last kick of the game.
This Saturday Belper United get February’s fixtures under way with a home game against Notts Police. Kick-off is 2pm.