Belper Town moved off the bottom of the table with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Pickering Town at their Mill Lane ground on Saturday afternoon.
Following a great improvement in midweek when they moved forward at the expense of Spalding United in the Integro League Cup, they continued their impressive form against the Pikes, and never looked in danger of losing the game.
It is apparent that Belper have some very talented players in their squad and after one or two false starts, manager Grant Black is gradually bringing them all together to play as a team.
The Pikes haven’t had the best of starts to life in the Evo-Stik East Division which was why this clash was a crucial test for the Nailers, and one they passed with flying colours.
Craig Nelthorpe, who had been restored to the starting eleven after completing his suspension, gave due warning to the hosts with powerful shots in the 4th and 13th minutes, but it was the approach play that caught the eye as Belper’s intention to continue were they left off at Spalding was obvious.
It was all Belper in the opening 20 minutes as the Nailers used both flanks with good effect with only the final pass lacking the required quality.
Nathan Curtis and George Milner teased and taunted the Pikes back line without creating anything clear cut, however a rare Pickering attack nearly caught out Belper and it fell to Danny South to clear off the line in the 21st minute.
Once Belper opened the scoring in the 37th minute, the Nailers never looked back.
Again the industry of George Milner was the catalyst with Alex Peterson controlling, and turning with the ball inside the penalty area before carefully placing his shot well wide of Charlie Andrew.
The goal not only breathed confidence into Peterson, but the whole team appeared to be lifted and looked eager to score more.
James Leverton who had been relatively untroubled so far was forced into action just before the break when Joe Danby’s free kick cleared the defensive wall, but the Belper custodian was equal to it.
Nathan Curtis, another player who has been impressing recently almost broke through in the 50th minute, and although he got within sight of goal, his shot didn’t have accuracy or power.
A brilliantly constructed goal on 58 minutes knocked the stuffing out of the Pikes as Nathan Curtis split their defence giving George Milner possession, and Milner’s lay off allowed Craig Nelthorpe the opportunity to sweep the ball home at the far post.
Milner tested the ‘keeper with a crisply struck shot on 63 minutes, again after more excellent approach play, and then the game entered an untidy spell with Pickering having more of the ball as they tried to claw their way back.
But the Nailers were having non of this and with Danny South dominant at the back, the hosts were kept at bay although substitute Jack Reynolds did get a shot on target on 69 minutes that Leverton had to save.
The Nailers wrestled back control as the half wore on and another well constructed move lead to a third goal on 83 minutes.
Danny Gordon received the ball on the right hand side and spotting Tyler Johal running into the box, delivered a perfectly timed pass that Johal prodded into the net from 12 yards.
The smiles on player’s and supporter’s faces at the final whistle said it all and capped a pleasing visit to North Yorkshire for the first time since Belper’s Northern Counties East League days over 20 years ago.
Pickering Town: Andrew, Tilsley, Danby, Cass (Dunnett 70), Turnbull, Barkway (Reynolds 53), Thompson, Taylor, Blott, Logan (Dalton 74), Greening. Unused subs: Blissett, Ingram.
Belper Town. Leverton, Lucas, Clark, Robson, South, Assenso, Curtis (Sturgess 84), Gordon, Lucas, Peterson , Milner (Paylor 80), Nelthorpe (Johal 70).
Referee: Luke Watson.