Belper aim to extend league run after losing cup goals thriller

Belper Town joint manager Anthony Danylyk
Belper Town joint manager Anthony Danylyk

Belper Town will be looking to extend their unbeaten league run at high-flying Alvechurch this Saturday after losing a sensational 10-goal Integro League Cup tie on Monday.

That followed a good display in a 1-1 draw at Market Drayton Town on Saturday which made it five Evo Stik League games unbeaten in the First Division South.

With some key players rested, Belper drew 5-5 with Basford United in a cup thriller on Monday before losing 5-4 on penalties in a game played through powerful winds left over from Hurricane Ophelia.

“I would think the game was good value for money for a neutral,” smiled joint Belper boss Ant Danylyk.

“Both teams made changes but when you score five goals at home you expect to win don’t you? The weather didn’t help - it was difficult conditions with the very strong wind.

“We thought whoever coped with the conditions best would go on and win the game.

“They started the game really brightly with the wind behind them and they caught us out twice with balls pumped into the box, scoring twice.

“Then they had a lad sent off which changed the game and we made it 2-2.

“Second half we looked comfortable going forward, but with the wind picking up and swirling we looked vulnerable at the back.”

That vulnerability saw Basford score again before Belper netted twice to lead for the first time only to see Basford come back at 4-4.

Belper went 5-4 ahead only to concede a 76th minute penalty for 5-5 with Basford winning the eventual shoot-out.

“I said a couple of weeks ago the league was our priority,” said Danylyk.

“We are not in the position where we have a big squad we can rotate.

“We rested three or four senior players last night and had a couple of others unavailable. It gave lads needing games an opportunity and, to be fair, there were some good performances

“We scored some really good goals and looked a threat at times.”

Last weekend poor finishing and an in-form keeper saw Belper held at Market Drayton.

“It sounds like I keep repeating myself but first half we should have been three or four goals up, but we lacked composure in front of goal,” said Danylyk.

“You sensed it would be one of those games where they would nick a goal against the run of play if we didn’t score a second and they equalised just before half-time.

“Second half we never got ourselves going. They came out the blocks quickly, got their second wind, and hit the post and bar.

“But we have had four or five really good chances again second half. It could have ended up 6-6 really, but the game should have been done and dusted in that first 45 minutes.”

On Saturday Belper head for sixth-placed Alvechurch looking for revenge for the 2-1 home FA Trophy defeat two weeks ago.

Danylyk said: “Alvechurch will be a really tough game. Obviously we played them not long ago so we know what to expect from them.

“Hopefully we’ll have a few more faces available.

“We will have a good go and hopefully get another three points to keep this unbeaten run going in the league.”

Belper are hoping they may have former Middlesbrough and Mansfield Town striker Ben Hutchinson fit to make his debut.

“He is still nursing a thigh strain we knew about when he joined us,” said Danylyk.

“Hopefully he can get a training session under his belt and we expect he will play either this weekend or next. He is not a million miles away.”