Belper United’s first game of the season was a short away trip to newly promoted Mickleover RBL and ended with a fine 3-0 win.
Aaron Pride and Blake Owen, signed on the deadline from Belper Town, came straight into the side and another new signing, Sam Vickers, was on the bench.
The game started with Belper looking tentative and unable to play their normal passing game. Mickleover were up for the challenge and very well organised all over the pitch. When Belper United managed to get hold of the ball, they looked like they could cause Mickleover problems but the majority of the play for the first half hour was with Mickleover, although they failed to really trouble the United goal.
On 34 minutes, somewhat against the run of play, Scott Slater fed the ball to Luke Crosby, whose strong run caused Mickleover RBL problems and his eventual square ball was neatly tucked into the corner by Joe Wheeler to give Belper United the lead.
Mickleover again came out the stronger after the break and nearly got a equaliser. fter the first ten minutes.
There were little goalmouth incidents until the 89th minute when that changed. Good movement down the right from Mickleover saw the ball deflected across the six yard box and looked like it was going to be tapped in but the ball squirmed past the striker.
Again the ball was squared into the box and a couple of miscues and last ditch blocks protected the Belper United goal. The ball was hit long out of defence for lone striker Luke Crosby to run onto and his 40-yard run was stopped by him being upended in the area and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Skipper Kyle Wadsworth stepped up right and smashed the penalty home.
There was still time left for Belper to score a third. Good play in the middle saw Sam Vickers release Joe Wheeler, who outpaced the defence and slotted home.
for his second and Belper United’s third of the game.
Manager Steve Watson said: “It was a typical start of the season game and we never really got totally going today. Mickleover were very well organised and stopped us playing our normal game for long periods of the match. The score could have been very different if Mickleover had converted their chance in 89th minute.
“But I am very pleased we kept going and eventually got the positive result we deserved. It was the first game of the season, away from home, and we have taken three points and a clean sheet off a good side, so lots of positives can be taken from the result.
“We now start planning for Wednesday night’s first home match at our new home Christchurch Meadows against local rivals Holbrook St Michaels. (7.45pm kick off).”