Belper Town’s unbeaten run stretching back to January this year finally ended last Saturday with a disappointing away defeat at Market Drayton Town.
After three consecutive draws in which in the previous two, the Nailers had to fight their way back from being two goals down, they found themselves in a similar position again at Market Drayton.
Once again they hauled themselves back into it with goals from Ryan Mallon and Karl Colley, but then succumbed to a great shot from substitute Delroy Fox to shatter their hopes of getting off the mark with a first win.
Manager Peter Duffield was disappointed to see his side go down by the odd goal in five and felt that they hadn’t deserved to lose.
“We shouldn’t have lost the game, especially after showing great character in getting back in it in the second half, but we should have converted the chances that came our way.”
“We started the game really well and could have been two up inside the first 5 minutes, but instead we are a goal down after we were punished harshly for a error at the back.”
“Their second goal was a killer really, coming when it did right on the half time whistle, and while you could say that we should have closed the lad down much quicker, you can’t take away the quality of the shot.”
It does seem that the Nailers haven’t quite settled into a regular pattern yet this season but Peter Duffield has utmost confidence in the players he has at the club.
I have total belief in my players”, he said, “and all we need to do is continue to do all the good things we have been doing and less of the bad things.”
“We have scored goals this season and created many more chances to have won games we have dropped points in, but although we have conceded more than I would have liked I’m not blaming our defence as this is a team game and everyone has responsibility.”
The Nailers had to come from behind against Sheffield on Bank Holiday Monday after going 2-0 down, but despite having the visitors on the rack for much of the second half, they couldn’t break down a resolute Sheffield defence.
Belper face the mouth-watering prospect of a trip to the Reynolds Stadium to play Matlock Town following their comfortable victory over Holbrook Sports in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup.
“We did a professional job at Holbrook,” said Duffield, “we had a point to prove after two previous defeats at the same stage in recent seasons, and I thought we did exceptionally well under the circumstances.”
“The bonus for us is that we can now go and test ourselves against Premier Division opposition, and see how our players step up to the mark.”
“We have quite a few in our squad who have played at that level so we go to Matlock expecting to do well, however they will start favourites to win the tie.”
“This is a game for the supporters as well as the players,” he said. “They will have seen that Matlock haven’t started the season too well and will relish a local derby tie such as this, but that will mean nothing on the day and we must expect a tough game.”
Over the Bank Holiday period the Nailers lost and gained a player after Glynn Cotton decided to move on to Frickley Athletic and Richard Stirrup joined Belper from Stockbridge Park Steels.
Dan White and Michael Simpkins are currently nursing injuries although Simpkins is currently under suspension having been sent off on the opening day against Coalville Town, and he will miss the Leek Town game (Tuesday 4th Sept) and Saturday’s game at Matlock.
The Nailers have a free midweek next week unless the FA Cup tie against Matlock ends in a draw, in which case the replay will take place on Tuesday evening (7.45pm).