The Nailers paid their second visit of the season to Coles Lane last Saturday to face Romulus who ground share with Sutton Coldfield Town.
They were unable to do any better than they did when they first went there on the opening day of the season as they lost by 2-0 to extend their run of consecutive league defeats to six games.
It was the culmination of an awful week for Andy Carney’s men who lost all three games without finding the back of the net once, with Grantham Town winning a week last Saturday, and then a wholly depressing defeat against Newcastle Town in midweek and again at Romulus last Saturday.
It all adds up to a sorry state of affairs that is clearly embarrassing for everyone associated with the football club.
It was a much better display against Romulus and the Nailers didn’t really deserve to lose the game as they did have the chances to get at least a draw.
There was nothing between the teams in the first half and they were very unfortunate to go in at half time a goal down because the 45th minute strike from Naveed Arshad wasn’t cleanly hit and the ball bobbled agonisingly beyond the fingers of the diving Ali Barcherini.
Andy Rushbury hit the cross bar in the second half and Ruben Wiggins-Thomas missed what appeared to be a simple header, but the Roms’ defence capably dealt with most of what Belper had to throw at them.
Carney said: “It wasn’t much of a game. It was a poor surface and there wasn’t much football played, but to be honest I don’t think we deserved to lose the game.
“We had some good spells but couldn’t make the most of it when we were on top, and the goals we conceded were disappointing from our perspective.”
The home team’s clincher came from a far post corner kick, and the Nailers’ lack of height cruelly exposed them as Marcus Brown powered home a forceful header.
The Nailers might even been in front at the break if Jon Froggatt had been able to find the target with a couple of well struck efforts and Charlie Weir, who has quietly impressed supporters since his introduction to the side will know that he should have done better with an opportunity created for him by the ever dependable Froggatt.
Carney added: “I’ve been pleased with the attitude that Charlie has shown since he came here. He’s worked hard and settled in well, and most of all he’s grateful for the opportunity to have a crack at this level.”
However, there is no getting away from the fact that the Nailers look short on confidence and motivation now that they know that Andy Carney is leaving at the end of the season.
Alternatively though, this should be a time when they ought be proving to everyone, especially their manager that he didn’t make the wrong decision in bringing them to Christchurch Meadow.
What has happened to the grit and determination that they showed in defeating Leek, Lincoln and Newcastle in their own back yards, and in other short but explosive sequences earlier in the season?
“I’ve tried to instil into the players how important it is that as a squad we are seen to be giving 100 per cent for the remainder of the season.” explained Carney.
“The trouble is I don’t seem to be getting the right response from four or five players and to preserve the reputation of the club, management and those squad members who are still doing their best, I will bring players in who want to see Belper finish as high up in the division as possible.”
While supporters are naturally dissatisfied at the way this season has turned sour in the last couple of months, it should be acknowledged that Andy Carney could easily have walked away from the club two weeks ago and the majority of the squad may also have left with him, leaving the club in disarray, and he should be given credit for that.
This weekend the Nailers face top of the table Barwell who themselves haven’t had things all their own way recently, having lost to Lincoln United in successive weekend fixtures, and this would be the perfect time for Belper to restore some pride in their performances.
With no midweek games this week or next week they are then in action against Market Drayton Town at Christchurch Meadow on April 2