Belper Town pick up point as improvement continues

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Belper Town took a point from their penultimate league fixture away to Marine on Saturday afternoon after twice coming from behind to equalise.

Goals from Evan Garnett and Jonathan Williams were enough to secure a draw as the Nailers continued to show evidence of their improved form late in the season.

Manager Jimmy Albans named the same starting eleven that beat Frickley Athletic last Tuesday evening, as Laurie Wilson captained the side once again.

The home side started the better of the two teams, testing Haystead early on in their bid to survive the drop.

Owens, Menagh and Nicolas all made the Nailers stopper work inside the first eight minutes with efforts from inside the box, but Haystead was equal to them.

However, Marine found the breakthrough after 18 minutes through Lloyd Ellams to give Belper a much needed wake up call.

Owens came across to take a long throw in from the right hand side level with the penalty box.

The ball then fell at the feet of Ellams whose touch found a way through Watt’s attempted intervention to give the midfielder a second chance, which he didn’t fail to take as he slotted the ball neatly in to the bottom left corner.

The Nailers responded well to going to a goal behind and Laurie Wilson’s free kick from the left angle was saved well by Cooper as he parried the ball away to safety on the half hour mark.

Stevenson then showed glimpses of his talent as he drove inside to take three players out of the game before shooting wide of the near left post.

Grimes soon had a good effort tipped away for a corner after side-stepping his man on the edge of the box before unleashing a fierce effort on goal.

Haystead was then called in to action twice before the half time whistle as Owens and Menagh were both denied by fine saves from inside the box.

The second half began and Belper continued to put their opponents under pressure before a goal on the 57th minute.

Following a set piece for Marine, Haystead collected the ball well and looked for the early ball down to Evan Garnett.

Garnett controlled the ball well and turned to square up the defender.

The forward the knocked the ball to his right and out-paced the defender, arriving in to the box and clinically finishing his effort in to the far left corner, with little hope for Cooper.

Nine minutes later the home side re-established their lead in rather fortunate circumstances.

Captain Nicholas turned in to space just inside the Nailers’ half on the right hand side and slipped the ball through to Andy Owens.

Kern Miller and Phil Watt did well to step up and play the offside trap, only for the linesman to miraculously keep his flag down and allow play to continue.

Owens then took his time as he edged in on goal, side-stepping the recovering Turner, and placing the ball past Haystead.

Their lead lasted only four minutes as Belper hit back for a second time with 20 minutes remaining.

Garnett held the ball well with his back to goal and laid play off to Stevenson.

Stevenson then teased the fullback and beat him down the outside to reach the byline, before picking out the perfect dinked cross which saw Jonathan Williams arrive unmarked to volley the ball home to the left corner, and ensure the Nailers wouldn’t leave Liverpool empty handed.

Phil Watt almost won it for Belper with three minutes remaining after heading the ball inches over the bar from a corner whipped in by Matthews, which would have put the icing on the cake for those in yellow.

Marine FC: Cooper, Wainwright, Short, Willis, Foley (Peers 73), Nicholas, Ellams (Bembo-Leta 85), Clair, Owens, Menagh, Coolins. Subs: Owens, Furnerough, Mitchison.

Belper Town: Haystead, Turner, Matthews, Miller, Watt, Warne (Towey 73), Wilson, Williams, Grimes, Garnett (Froggatt 73), Stevenson. Subs: Shariff, Varley.

Referee: M Woods (Bolton).

Attendance: 402.