Belper Town’s difficult season continued with another demoralising home defeat against Rushall Olympic who hit 3 goals in the last 20 minutes to win 3-0.
After two consecutive postponements due to the poor weather over the New Year period the Nailers returned to league action against the lowly Pics.
Belper manager Jim Albans had recruited two additional players over the holiday period with former Grantham captain Paul Lister and Lincoln City’s Josh Barr-Rostron having joined the Nailers.
Phil Watt made an important interception to deny Rushall an opener with their first attack of the game in the 10th minute.
At the other end Aaron Pride blazed over seconds later when the ball came to him after the Nailers had swiftly countered.
Steve Warne nearly managed to embarrass Cameron Belford on 15 minutes after Rushall made a mess of trying the clear the ball, but Warne’s first time effort swerved away from the open goal and the ‘keeper’s blushes were spared.
Steven Leslie struck a powerful effort from 25 yards on 25 minutes that rebounded off the cross bar with Jamie Green nothing but a spectator. It was an isolated effort from the Pics who had been fairly quiet as an attacking force so far.
Belper appealed for a penalty in the 39th minute when Aaron Brown cut out a Rob Stevenson cross and the Pics’ defender looked to have handled the ball in the process.
The Nailers were fortunate in the 45th minute when Josh Hawker pulled the ball back from the by-line and Aaron Williams’ shot hit the foot of the post and was cleared to safety.
Steven Leslie was close to being on target in the 47th minute as a gap opened up for him 20 yards out, however his shot sped just passed the near post, then Rob Stevenson raced away and crossed for Aaron Pride but the Belper defender was penalised as he challenged for the ball.
The game opened up as both teams looked for the break, but there was no quality with the final ball which was the main reason for the game being goalless.
Both teams made substitutions either side of the 60 minute mark, with the Pics introducing the much travelled Dele Adebola in the centre forward slot.
Carl Palmer broke the deadlock in the 71st minute with a fiercely driven shot from 25 yards that beat Jamie Green just inside the far post.
Rushall went further ahead in the 81st minute when a deflected Jake Heath cross was headed in at close range by Connor Deards and maximum points for the visitor’s were virtually assured.
Luckless Belper conceded a third goal deep into added on time when Jake Heath’s deflected shot looped over Jamie Green to deepen the Nailers’ misery.
These are desperate times at the Marston’s Stadium and all eyes are firmly on new manager Jimmy Albans to see if he can pull off the great escape with 19 games to go.
Belper Town: Green, Jones (Barr-Rostron 62), Pride, Goulding, Watt, Adams, Towey, Warne (Froggatt 79), Stevenson, Burbeary, Ross. Unused subs: Lister, Varley, Martin.
Rushall Olympic: Belford, Chrisopherou, Williams, Taylor (Aderbola 57), Brown, Caines, Heath, Palmer, Williams (Deards 77), Hawker, Leslie (Lait 57). Unused subs: Rooney, Mugisha.
Referee: S Richardson (Mansfield).