Heavy rain put paid the Belper Town’s pre-Christmas fixture against Market Drayton Town last Saturday, but the Nailers did manage to play their outstanding Doodson League Cup tie at Ossett Town last Tuesday evening.
After a blank Saturday the previous week, manager Peter Duffield took a strong squad to Ingfield on a relatively mild December evening, but Ossett ran out 3-1 winners to progress to the next round, where Carlton Town await them.
“I wondered if the break would have done us good – but obviously not,” said Duffield. “It was abysmal. We played a new system and, at first, we looked fantastic. We should have been three up in the first 15 minutes but after that, we showed a lack of effort and desire.
“There was no commitment out there, with the exception of three players. Some of the players looked like they didn’t want to be there, which I find astonishing.
“I apologise to anyone who had to watch that. I was ashamed.”
Duffield demanded a response from his players at home to Market Drayton Town but will now be expecting something much better at Sheffield FC on Boxing Day (3.00pm)
“I’ve calmed down a bit now and the lads have done quite well of late – but I won’t accept that again,” he added.
The home side needed extra time to beat a resolute Belper side that had their moments throughout the 90 minutes, but only had Karl Colley’s headed goal to show for it.
Unfortunately, poor marking lead to Ossett’s equaliser and so it stayed all square until the 90 minutes were up, although better finishing from the home team would have negated the need for an extra 30 minute.
A goal in either half of extra time was sufficient to consign the Nailers to a first round exit, which leaves them in just one remaining knock out competition; the Derbyshire Cup in which they have been drawn away to a Chesterfield XI.
In a postscript to the Nailers’ elimination from the League Cup, it emerged that the winners of the Carlton/Ossett tie will face Matlock Town in the next round!
Unfortunately, Richard Adams’s three-game suspension is taking longer to complete that would have been expected and so he won’t be available for the Boxing Day fixture, but will be in contention for a return against Leek Town at Harrison Park on Saturday.
Everyone will be hoping that the weather holds good for the New Year’s Day clash at home to local rivals Mickleover Sports, kick off 3pm.