While the Nailers extended their unbeaten run to 12 games after two successive away draws, closest rivals Halesowen Town made up ground on Belper and were just one point behind when the two teams faced each other last night (Tuesday) as the News went to press.
Last Tuesday’s draw at a slightly faltering Coalville Town was fully deserved and there were opportunities to clinch all three points as the Nailers had long spell of dominance over the runaway league leaders.
After defeating Kidsgrove 5-1 in the home fixture the previous Saturday, it was always going to be more difficult in the return game at the Seddon Stadium last weekend.
The Nailers made it more difficult for themselves than it should have been by slipping to a two-goal deficit in the first half, not getting to grips with the pitch, and generally looking out of sorts.
However, after regrouping at half-time, it was a different matter after the break and it was all Belper, although Kidsgrove, well marshalled by defender Phil Parkinson, looked like they were going to hold out for a win until Jon Froggatt stroked home a 94th minute free-kick from the edge of the area.
This was Froggatt’s 12th goal of the season and his 11th was scored on 60 minutes when he tucked away a loose ball inside the penalty to put the Nailers on their way to recovery.
Belper’s assistant manager Mick Godber admitted his team had underperformed against Kidsgrove.
He said: “The first half was as probably as poor as we’ve played for a long time, but we did manage to turn things around in the second half.
“But I can’t honestly say we deserved to win.
“We went looking for three points but they were still smarting from the previous Saturday’s defeat and were up for revenge.
“They did work very hard particularly in the first half.
“We would have taken a point at Coalville before kickoff but in the end we thought we did enough to deserve all three.
n Continued on page 35
“That’s because we had the better chances,” he said.
“We’ve got two very important games coming up and if we can win those it will put us in a great position.”
After the Kidsgrove game, the Belper management applauded the tremendous support that spurred the Nailers on to a second-half comeback.
“When supporters get behind their team like they did on Saturday, it gives the players a huge boost and it was very much appreciated.”
This coming Saturday the Nailers face Stamford at Christchurch Meadow in another crucial top of the table clash, and on Tuesday evening (12th) Belper are at home again when Gresley FC are the visitors.