Belper bolster forwards ahead of big FA Cup tie

Belper's Eric Graves - goalline clearance against Basford - Pic by: Richard Parkes
Belper's Eric Graves - goalline clearance against Basford - Pic by: Richard Parkes

Belper United have bolstered their forward department ahead of the first of two successive games against title favourites Lincoln United when they travel there for an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie on Saturday.

The sides clash again at Belper in the Evo-Stick NPL Division One South seven days later.

With early injury problems biting, Belper joint boss Ant Danylyk said: We have signed two new lads to go straight into the squad – Kyle Clarke, who is a winger-cum-forward that hadn’t played for a while, and Jahvan Davidson-Miller, who is a centre forward who had been on Derby’s books.

“Once everyone is fully fit I think we’ll be good to go. We are still waiting on international clearance for Leandro Browne, the ex-Gresley forward who has been playing out in America.”

He added: “It’s a big game for us and always a welcome distraction from the league, giving the lads something different to focus on,” said joint boss Ant Danylyk.

“Obviously there is money involved so it’s important to the club.

“Everybody will want to play in what I believe is the best cup competition in non-league and the professional game.

“The lads are looking forward to it and it’s important we get something from the game.

“Lincoln are a strong, competitive side and favourites for the league this year. They are strong and physical and we know it will be a battle down there. It’s never an easy place to go.

“But we’ll get the lads up for that and hopefully we can get in the hat for the next round.”

Belper began their league campaign with a 1-0 home defeat by highly fancied Basford United on Saturday followed by a 0-0 draw at Danylyk’s former club Leek Town on Tuesday.

But the week has proved costly as they lost forwards Dexter Atkinson and Matt Richards with injury on Saturday as well as losing Joe Hunt for this weekend with a red card.

“It wasn’t the best start to the day on Saturday, admitted Danylyk.

“We had a couple of problems before the game. Dexter Atkinson was injured so we had to withdraw him from the team just before the game with a groin problem.

“But we started the game really well apart from missing the penalty, which was disappointing we had three or four decent chances in that first half

“We were pleased with that. But Matthew Richards picked up a knee injury and had to come off at half-time and after we seemed to lose our momentum and never really got going in the second half.

“They got on top of us and eventually scored from a corner. But, apart from that, I thought we defended well and in that first half we looked a threat going forward and kept the ball really well.

“It was just the second half that let us down and cost us the three points.”

He added: “We had a red card near the end as well which was never a red card. I felt sorry for Joe to be fair.

“The ball has hit him on the side, there was a big shout from the opposition dug-out and the referee and the linesman have gone for it. It was actually the linesman who gave the decision to get him sent off – the referee had waved play on.

“He will now miss the FA Cup game on Saturday.”

On the Leek game last night he added: “The positives are that we got a point and a clean sheet away from home.

“I was disappointed with our first half as we never got going and they missed numerous chance to score.

“We were a little better in the second half and our back four and keeper were superb and kept us it it.

“We did have two or three chances to nick it but we’ll take the point.”