A night to forget for Belper Town

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Belper Town suffered a torrid time at Lincoln United on Wednesday evening as they shipped five goals, included two penalty kicks.

For those spectators who witnessed the Nailers last visit to the Sun Hat Villas Stadium when the Whites hit eight goals to Belper’s one, there was a sense of deja vu as the hosts caused all sorts of problems once again for the Belper defence.

Craig Nelthorpe made his début with Danny Gordon the player to make way and the Nailers made a promising start on a hard and sparse playing surface.

Lincoln’s tactics were apparent from the start with the long ball option suiting their nippy forwards, and it also became obvious that the Belper defence found it hard to cope with.

Matt Cotton’s 7th minute free kick went just wide, and both sides embarked on fast and furious play that wasn’t great to watch.

The game turned in Lincoln’s favour with a soft penalty award against Rikki Paylor in the 19th minute with Paul Grimes scoring comfortably from the spot.

The Nailers had to withstand great pressure as Lincoln’s confidence increased and it took until the 26th minute before they showed up in the opposition penalty area again, when Danny South headed a free kick across into the six yard area, and Rikki Paylor’s header was touched over for a corner kick.

Within a minute Lincoln had caught Belper on the break and as a result Matt Cotton drilled the ball under the exposed Max Beardmore.

The Nailers raised the tempo for the last 15 minutes of the half giving supporters hope that the game could swing back in their favour.

A great chance was spurned on 30 minutes when Marcus Day cleverly set up Nathan Curtis with a seemingly straightforward opportunity, but unfortunately he blazed the ball over the bar.

However Belper did manage to reduce the arrears on the stroke of half time when Jake Sturgess made the most of his opportunity from 15 cards and fired wide of the ‘keeper, and into the net.

Hopes were high for the second half and they made a positive start with Piteu Crouz hitting the ball well in the 51st minute only for Mike Emery to save comfortably.

A strong penalty appeal for an alleged handball in the Lincoln penalty area was waved away in the 55th minute, and after this, the game slowly started to drift away from Belper.

Poor defensive decisions led to a third goal, and a second for Michael Cotton on 77 minutes, and a Jake Sturgess foul three minutes later sealed Belper’s fate when Paul Grimes got his second from the penalty spot

While in between times Belper’s approach play offered some hope for the future they couldn’t turn possession into opportunities, although Marcus Day had a fine effort saved on 85 minutes.

Substitute Joshua Nichol made the most of more defensive woes by scoring a fifth for Lincoln on 86 minutes.

George Milner celebrated a useful substitute appearance by heading in a consolation in added on time, but the manner of this defeat left the Belper management team with much to think about ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup clash, also against Lincoln United.

Lincoln United: Emery, Smith (Nichol 63), Matthews, Wilson, Jacklin, Blunden, Norris (Dickens 86), Whitehead, Hemegou (Carrick 74), Grimes, Cotton. Unused subs: Carrick, Grundy.

Belper Town. Beardmore, Lucas, Johal (Clark 65), Paylor, South, Sturgess, Nelthorpe, Day, Peterson, Curtis (Guy 76) Crouz (Milner 53) Unused subs: Elliott, Gordon.

Referee: Neil Allsop.

Att: 135.