Division One South
Brigg Town 1
Belper Town 2
BELPER Town made it five wins on the trot in all competitions with a hard won victory at the Hawthorns against old adversaries Brigg Town.
Manager Peter Duffield introduced two new faces to the substitutes bench after Lee Whittington signed from Matlock Town and an old favourite; Ryan Hindley made another return to Christchurch Meadow to rejoin his former manager from his Retford United days.
Former Belper defender Matt Plant lined up for the home side following his recent move away from Christchurch Meadow, and with both teams occupying mid table positions it was always going to be difficult to predict the outcome of this game.
Conditions were excellent for good football with clear blue skies and a perfect pitch.
Both teams served up some nice moves in the early stages and the Zebras settled into the game very quickly.
Their slick one touch passing game soon had Belper in trouble and after only 7 minutes Brigg took the lead when they carved open Belper’s defence with an incisive move that ended with Liam Davis firing the ball in low under the diving Andy Richmond.
In the 14th minute the Nailers almost created an equaliser when Andy Rushbury and Lee Morris combined well together before Scott Ellis set himself up for a shot from the edge of the area, but his effort went straight at Tom Woodhead.
The Nailers had a good shout for a penalty kick waved away by the referee on 17 minutes after a Zebras’ defender was seen to handle the ball inside the area, but it was Brigg who were calling most of the shots with some direct play that forced the Nailers into some serious defending.
Alex Flett came close to adding to the Zebras’ lead on three occasions in 7 minutes with his first effort being beaten away for a corner kick by Andy Richmond, and then the Belper stopper blocked another Flett effort in the 27th minute.
Flett’s best chance arrived in the 32nd minute when he had a clear shot on goal and screwed his effort wide, and the home side were to rue those missed opportunities when the Nailers fought back to equalise in the 41st minute.
Lee Morris produced some good work to get the ball over from the bye line and as it came out to Dan White the full back showed the perfect striker’s instinct by hitting a controlled volley high into the net.
The Nailers went into the half time break slightly fortunate to be on level terms but when they came out for the second period they threw everything into the game.
Jon Froggatt had a good run culminating in a good effort deflected for a corner kick in the 48th minute, then he had another shot well blocked by the ‘keeper as the Nailers continued their buoyant start.
Then in the 59th minute they stole the lead when Froggatt forced Woodhead into a full length save and as the ball came out to Andy Rushbury, he drilled an accurate angled shot into the net from 15 yards.
Dan White nearly provided an assist for a third Belper goal but Tom Woodhead kept his side in the game with another fine save from Jon Froggatt’s shot.
But predictably, Brigg stepped up the pace and no doubt felt aggrieved that they were behind after having had plenty of possession, not to mention chances.
For the lat 20 minutes or so Belper had to work very hard for their victory and after Andy Richmond had made an important block in the 71st minute Philip Jackson had the Zebras’ best chance of the game just two minutes later when he missed a great opportunity from 12 yards by choosing the spectacular option rather than the safe one, and ended up by blasting the ball against the underside of the cross bar.
The Nailers didn’t let their opponents as near to an equaliser again although they had plenty to think about as Brigg pressed hard for an equaliser, but Belper are very resilient nowadays and their ‘never say die’ attitude drummed into them by Duffield ensured they held on to the three points.
Brigg Town: Woodhead, Marshall, Heward, Clement (Dickens 75), Plant, Archer, Davis, Lamplough (Lee 80), Holden (Ricketts 83), Jackman, Flett.
Unused subs: Bowlsey, Cannon.
Belper Town: Richmond, Pride, White, Warne, Adams, O’Hare, Ellis (Meikle 69), Marrison, Froggatt (Whittington 78), Morris, Rushbury (Chambers 90). Unused subs: Hindley, Turner.
Referee: S Wade (Hull)
Next in action
Saturday, October 22 - FA Trophy, first round - Barton Rovers v Belper Town, 3pm.
Tuesday, October 25 - Evo-Stik League First Division South - Loughborough Dynamo v Belper Town, 7.45pm OR FA Trophy, first round replay if required.