Belper Town produced another positive performance in their fifth friendly fixture, with a 3-1 victory over Handsworth Parramore, writes Joe Malone.
It was an action-packed game that was full of chances, with all four goals coming in the first half, and there was plenty for manager Peter Duffield to be pleased with after a solid show.
Jon Froggatt and Kieran Wells were reunited in the starting line-up, with Ian Ross dropping to centre half for the second time, showing the versatility to his game.
The first goal came after just three minutes when a familiar theme to the Nailers pre-season preparations came to fruition again, as an Ian Ross setpiece played a key role in the goal.
It was free kick from a central position some 35 yards out. Ross then scooped a delicious floating cross over the heads of the defenders, where Regan Edridge was there to glance his header into the left hand corner, to give the Nailers the perfect start.
Captain Steve Warne then saw a decent effort rise a yard above the bar, as a corner from Aaron Cole was headed out by the defender, where Warne was on hand to strike the volley with good control, making the keeper backpedal towards his goal line.
Parramore then had their first opportunity on the 15th minute, after Quinn had driven in a good cross from the left hand side and Whittingham angled his header towards the far post, dropping an inch or two wide.
Then, one minute later, the Nailers found themselves two goals up following a terrific break. The ball was played up from the back towards Jon Froggatt, who chested the ball, brought it down, and laid it off to Warne. Warne then played a first time ball through to Rob Stevenson on the left hand side, with the keeper rushing out to make it his.
Stevenson got his toe to the ball first, before a foul by the goalkeeper, seeing the ball trickle into the empty net, much to the goalkeeper’s relief to what surely would have been a straight red card.
Three minutes later, Kieran Wells headed the ball against the bar following an Aaron Cole corner from the right, before Scot Low was called into action after Whittingham found a yard of space inside the penalty area, only for his shot to be struck comfortably into the keeper’s reach.
Handsworth soon halved the deficit with a picture-book goal on the 24th minute, after feeling their way back into the game. Again it was the combination of Quinn on the left-hand side who received the ball from Powell, with Quinn curling in a cross onto the head of Whittingham who bulleted his header into the top right hand corner, beyond the reach of Scot Low.
Aaron Cole soon produced another breath-taking moment, which almost had those in the ground in disbelief. The number seven received the ball on the right hand side, just over the halfway line.
Then, coming inside onto his left foot, Cole managed to take on two players in a small pocket of space to wriggle free, where he strode into the centre of the pitch and unleaded an unstoppable left-footed shot from distance, which left the goalkeeper rooted to his spot, with the ball flying inches wide of the left hand post.
However, it didn’t take long for the third Nailers goal to come through the number nine Jon Froggatt.
Aaron Pride took a throw on the right hand side, where Wells held the ball up well to feed Pride on the overlap. Pride then burst into the area along the by-line, before firing a low ball across the face of the goal, where Froggatt drove in front of his marker to tap the ball in first time after 43 minutes.
The second half saw more chances, and a hatful of substations, which seemingly slowed the tempo of the game down. Stevenson produced a good chance after cutting inside from the left.
His shot raced across goal, landing half a yard wide.
Kieran Wells then had two good chances inside the box, only for the goalkeeper to keep out both attempts.
Aaron Pride soon hit the bar with a cross-come-shot following a corner kick, and Evan Garnett came on to find good space on the left, where he drove inside and fired his shot just wide of the far post.
Belper Town: Scot Low, Aaron Pride, Trialist, Gareth Davies, Regan Edridge, Ian Ross, Aaron Cole, Steve Warne, Jon Froggatt, Kieran Wells, Rob Stevenson. Subs: Dave Ratcliffe, Matt Reay, Jack Andrews, Colin Marrison, Simon Harrison, Evan Garnett, Jordan Ball.
Photo: Rob Stevenson was on target for Belper (Photo by Terry Fletcher)