*

Belper Town returned to action on Saturday in the condident style for the first time since their memorable play-off final victory in May.

The Nailers opened their pre-season programme with a comfortable 5-0 victory at Teversal, with manager Peter Duffield giving every member of his 18-man squad at least 45 minutes of action.

The only players missing were club captain Steve Warne and newly signed goalkeeper James Martin, who were absent through work commitments and holiday respectively.

Added to the squad were central defenders. Matt Varley and Matt Reay, while former Belper Town junior Evan Garnett has made the move back to Christchurch Meadow from Burton Albion.

Belper started on the front foot from the opening minutes and never, at any point, gave any semblance of initiative to the home side.

The breakthrough in front of a crowd of 103 came after 17 minutes when Rob Stevenson crossed for last season’s leading scorer Jon Froggatt to swivel on the penalty spot before crashing the ball into the bottom corner.

With Belper remaining in control, they doubled the lead on 25 minutes when a Mark Ward free kick from the edge of the area floated beautifully into the top corner of the net.

Stevenson volleyed over when well-placed before Teversal created their first opportunity, only for Scott Low to tip a fierce free kick over the bar.

But Belper emphasised their dominance just before the break when Froggatt’s cross was fumbled and Simon Harrison was on hand to poke the ball into the net.

Peter Duffield made seven changes at the halfway stage, with only Scott Low, Chris Jones, Colin Marrison and Ian Ross remaining from the opening line-up.

And it was the Nailers in the ascendancy again in the second half, although they were guilty missing a host of chances.

Evan Garnett had a goal chalked off for offside immediately after the interval before Kieran Wells headed over from close in and Garnett saw his near post flick just clear the crossbar after taking a slight deflection on its way towards goal.

Aaron Pride then chipped the ball over the ‘keeper and just over the crossbar after Garnett had played him clear, before Wells spurned another headed effort which cleared the woodwork.

But Wells made up for his earlier misses when he scored twice within the space of two minutes as the game drew towards a close.

Jordan Ball was the architect behind both goals, driving in a shot that was too hot to handle, allowing Wells to slot home and then deftly crossing to the far post where Wells was on hand to nod the ball inside the post.

This was a relatively easy victory and Peter Duffield will know that sterner challenges face his squad as the pre-season programme continues.

The next pre-season game is an appealing looking fixture on Saturday when the Nailers play host to League One side Chesterfield, with the match kicking off at 3pm.

They have also added a friendly at Dinnington Town to their busy pre-season schedule. It will take place on Tuesday, July 22 (7.30pm).