EHL Men’s Conference North
Deeside Ramblers 4
LAST weekend provided he Nailers with an opportunity to secure their National league status for another term with a match against relegation threatened Deeside Ramblers and a rearranged match against title-chasing Brooklands.
With the initial focus resting upon the match with Deeside, coach Mark Lamb was able to recall Tom Sherratt from injury into a full-strength squad.
The Belper side knew from past experience that Deeside were a difficult team to beat and contained the league’s most prolific penalty corner striker in the shape of Ali Ghanzanfar.
Deeside needed a win to be able to take their bid for national league survival to the last weekend.
The Nailers travelled to Deeside for an early pushback on a sunny Saturday morning with the squad full of belief and desire to get the job done.
The game started with skipper Richard Kitchen winning the toss and taking the ball for the push back.
Straight from the off, Belper attacked by moving the ball swiftly from Blackwell through Davies and Hawkes. Davies was able to pick up the ball at the edge of the circle and beat a defender before cooly lifting the ball over the advancing ‘keeper.
As the ball dropped over the line the Belper team erupted into celebrations as they swamped Luke to celebrate a very well deserved goal that repaid a lot of effort and hard work. 0 – 1 in the first minute.
Unfortunately for Belper, the lead would only last for three minutes as Deeside’s corner routine did its job to reduce the deficit after a panic in the Belper defence led to a cheap penalty corner being conceded.
Ghanzanfar’s powerful flick did the trick to pull his side level at 1 – 1 after four minutes.
Belper reacted in a positive manner that has not always been evident this season and continued to move the ball at pace generating chances.
From a penalty corner in the ninth minute, Richard Kitchen was able to put away a rebound after a good strike by Hawkes to regain the lead and it was 2-1 to Belper on nine minutes.
Again Deeside fought back through their talisman Ghanzanfar who was able to generate and score another penalty corner to get his side back on level terms just two minutes after Belper scored and it was 2-2 with just 11 minutes gone.
The pattern for the remainder of the half had been set and Belper continued to attack with frequent forays down the left and right flanks.
David Ebbage and Ben Inshaw were causing the Deeside defence some serious issues and it was surely only a matter of time until Belper made the next breakthrough.
Sure enough Ben Inshaw was on target at the second attempt to regain the lead. 2 – 3 after 22 minutes. This was a lead that Belper did not look like surrendering but almost inevitably Ghanzanfar grabbed a late equaliser just before half time after a great turn and flicked shot. 3 – 3 in the 34th minute.
Coach Lamb delivered a simple message at half time to cut out the defensive errors. If this could be achieved then the threat posed by Deeside could be greatly reduced.
elper started the second half just like the first with some great attacking play. The defensive play was also much improved thanks to a superb performance from skipper Richard Kitchen and the impressive Blackwell.
Belper got back in the lead thanks to Rich Cassidy in the 47th Minute to make the score 3 – 4 from a thunderous reverse stick shot. On this occasion Deeside threatened briefly but Ghanzanfar was denied by a good save from Slane.
Belper extended their lead in the 64th minute after the move of the game involving Ebbage and Hawkes allowed Sherratt to finish convincingly past the home ‘keeper in the 64th minute with a great finish.
With the game all but finished, Deeside were only able to grab a late consolation through Ian Ward but were unable to prevent Belper from taking all three points.
“Today was all about the three points” commented coach Lamb. “We needed the points and most of all we needed the confidence that the win will have given us as we try to build our points total in the remaining fixtures” he added.
“This is the first time we have scored five goals in a league game this season” added Kitchen, “ and for us to have 5 different scorers shows the level of work and commitment we showed today.”