First Division South
Belper Town 1
Hucknall Town 5
BELPER Town’s proud unbeaten run of eight games that included seven consecutive victories came to an abrupt end at home to Hucknall Town last Saturday.
The Nailers made two changes from the side that took a point from Loughborough in midweek with Andy Richmond back between the posts, and Dan White returning at left back following a spell out with injury.
Former Frickley defender Michael Simpkins was also named as a substitute after signing for the Nailers last week.
Hucknall Town arrived at Christchurch Meadow having undergone some major restructuring in the past few weeks with a new owner having taken over the club and the appointment of former Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa defender Des Lyttle as manager.
Belper were looking to extend their unbeaten run to nine games since Peter Duffield took over a month ago.
The Nailers had an opening in only the 2nd minute of the game when Lee Morris stretched to intercept a loose pass, and Ryan Hindley sliced his shot the wrong side of the post from the edge of the area.
The Nailers found themselves a goal down in only the 7th minute after Aaron Pride lost possession to Aidan Brady, and with the Nailers out of position, he crossed to the unmarked Corey Gregory who scored easily from 10 yards.
ee Morris struck a shot straight at James Lindley following a subtle header from Jon Froggatt in the 12th minute, but the Nailers weren’t having things their own way as the visitors played the ball around confidently in the opening stages.
The Nailers fashioned an equaliser out of the blue on 19 minutes when Jon Froggatt moved in unseen to connect with a Lee Morris in swinging cross inside the six yard area, and he steered the ball past the exposed ‘keeper.
Deon Meikle wasn’t too far away from adding a second goal when he fired in a crisply struck shot in the 28th minute that shaved the cross bar, then Belper had to make an early substitution when Dan White left the field giving Michael Simpkins the opportunity to make his Nailers’ debut.
The game became a little scrappy and littered with fouls as both sides tried unsuccessfully to bring the ball down and play to feet, then Ryan Hindley caused uncertainty with a dangerous cross that Lindley couldn’t hold and he relied on Romaine Graham to complete the clearance.
However the visitors regained the lead moments before the half time when Curtis Shaw lashed in a superb effort from 20 yards that flew into the far corner of the net.
The Nailers nearly found themselves further behind within seconds of the restart when Aidan Brady volleyed straight into Andy Richmond’s arms from close in.
Ryan Hindley’s shot lacked power when the ball fell to him on the edge of the six yard area in the 50th minute, then Michael Simpkin’s debut was curtailed when he limped off in the 55th minute to be replaced by Luke Chambers.
The game desperately needed a lift as the Nailers struggled to make an impression in the Hucknall half of the pitch, and frustration grew when Hindley’s 57th minute free went harmlessly to James Lindley.
Misfortune befell the Nailers and Alan O’Hare particularly, when Grant Ryan’s fiercely driven cross struck the Belper defender and ended up in the back of the net on 64 minutes.
It quickly got worse for the Nailers in the 68th minute when Anthony Gregory’s stretching shot found its way into the far corner of the net, and two minutes later Curtis Shaw had made it 5-1 to the visitors with a precise lob over the static Andy Richmond.
It could have been worse for Belper as Anthony Gregory’s deflected effort bounced off the top of the cross bar in the 82nd minute, and then Callum Lloyd had Richmond at full stretch to save his effort in the 85th minute.
The Nailers were opened up again when Anthony Gregory had time and space to shoot two minutes later but the ball sped inches past the far post.
The Nailers managed to survive to the final whistle without conceding further goals, but this had been a harsh lesson for manager Peter Duffield who would have taken this result very badly.
Belper Town: Richmond, Pride, White ((Simpkins 30)(Chambers 55)), Meikle, Adams, O’Hare, Hindley (Leonard 73), Marrison, Froggatt, Morris, Rushbury.
Unused subs: Whittington, Turner.
Hucknall Town: Lindley, Baxter, Armstrong, Diuk, Graham, Lloyd, Gregory A, Shaw (Goodacre 85), Ryan, Gregory C (Walker 85), Brady (Massingham 76).
Unused subs: Price, Watson.
Referee: Adam Burgess of Killamarsh.
Match Sponsor: Molson Coors, Burton upon Trent.
Man of the match: Deon Meikle.
Next in action
Saturday, November 5
FA Carlsberg Trophy, second qualifying round - Curzon Ashton v BELPER TOWN, 3pm.
Tuesday, November 8
Evo-Stik League First Division South - BELPER TOWN v Leek Town, 7.45pm.