BELPER Town were handed a home draw against Newcastle Town in the semi finals of the President’s Cup last week, the tie to be played on Tuesday, March 8.
However, that was just about the only glimmer of good news to emerge from the football club in a week when the Nailers suffered two humiliating defeats which all but rule out any chance of a play off spot this season.
With 51 points still to play for, Belper are still mathematically within reach, but after two disappointing performances against Sutton Coldfield and last Saturday’s reverse at the Dovecote against Shepshed Dynamo, supporters are left wondering what has happened to the Nailers’ season.
Defensive blunders seriously undermined their effort against Sutton Coldfield last Tuesday evening and, despite having loads of possession, a 4-1 home defeat was an awful result to have to come to terms with.
In midweek Mark Barnard stressed how important it was for the team to get something out of their visit to Shepshed but in the event the Nailers put on a poor show against a side who had won just twice in the league this season.
Manager Andy Carney pulled no punches in his assessment of his team’s display at the Dovecote, and included many expletives that can’t be reproduced here.
He said: “It was a terrible game and we were awful. The conditions were dreadful, but I can’t hold that up as an excuse because there are no excuses for that performance.
“I can’t offer any defence for our defeat because we were very poor and as far as I’m concerned there are some players who are on the brink.
“Our instructions and game plan are clear from the start but since the turn of the year, some players have chosen to do what they want, and to be honest I’m not seeing the passion and desire I want and there will have to be further changes.
“I know I have talked about changes before but until I have assembled a side that is performing well week in week out then I will continue to chop and change where necessary.
“At the end of the day football management is a results-based business and at the moment we’re not getting results which obviously puts my position at risk.
“However, I’m going to continue to put 100 per cent in for Belper Town and all I ask is that my players do the same for me in return.”
For some reason Belper find it tough going at Shepshed and last Saturday was no exception .
The Nailers just couldn’t get into their stride and Dynamo, who had suffered the embarrassment of a 6-1 home defeat against Barrow Town in a county cup competition a few days earlier, frustrated Belper for virtually the whole 90 minutes.
Nicky Darker’s impetuousness didn’t help Belper’s cause as he was sent off for a second bookable offence leaving the Nailers to try and do what they were already struggling to do with 11 players, let alone ten.
Kyle Hadley made his debut after signing from Kidderminster last week but he didn’t have much opportunity to show what he could do because the pattern of the game was so erratic.
A blustery wind didn’t help matters and the ball spent a good deal of time out of play, and once the first 12 minutes or so of the game had elapsed it was impossible to detect which of the teams had the higher league position.
Belper have the players in their squad to do much better than they have done recently and hopefully the corner will be turned after last Saturday’s disappointing display at the Dovecote.
Andy Carney’s quest to sign new players hit a set back last week when three of his target opted to join fellow Evo-Stik League Division One South club Carlton rather than come to Christchurch Meadow, but this is unlikely to deter the Belper manager as he is determined to improve the playing staff and turn things around.
The Nailers face two consecutive away games in the next few days starting with a trip to Ashby Avenue on Saturday to face Lincoln United, and then on Tuesday, February 15, they travel to newly-promoted Newcastle Town for the first time this season.