Belper Town edged a finely balanced FA Cup tie with a late goal from Charlie Dawes earning a 1-0 win over Alvechurch FC.
Manager Grant Black kept faith with the same starting line up that performed so heroically at Sporting Khalsa in midweek, although the bench included Sam Wright who rejoined the Nailers after a short spell at Bradford Park Avenue.
Steve Ridley was also named as a substitute having served his suspension following his dismissal at Ilkeston on August Bank holiday Monday.
Alvechurch, who play in the Southern League Premier Division Central arrived at the Raygar Stadium having made a modest start to their league campaign and were in 14th place in their division.
Belper showed no signs of the fatigue they must have been feeling after the huge effort they put in to overcome Sporting in last week’s replay; however this tie turned out to be relatively low key affair with little of the thrills and spills seen at the Aspray Stadium on Tuesday evening.
It was a cagey start from both teams as they tried to work each other out and Kyle Rowley’s looping header for the visitors in the 7th minute was the tie’s first attempt on goal.
Danny South’s angled shot soon afterwards was deflected for a corner and Riece Bertram headed over Craig Nelthorpe’s flag kick, however there was little to raise the spirits of a sizeable crowd until Nathan Curtis struck a volley just wide on 31 minutes.
George Milner was doing his best to unsettle Church’s defenders with solo jinking runs although very little in the way of opportunities emerged from them.
Phil Watt couldn’t squeeze the ball in at the near post after Craig Nelthorpe launched a long free kick taken from just inside the Belper half.
Derry Robson had a half chance in the 42nd minute after some good approach play, then George Milner latched on to Alex Peterson lay off, but volleyed the ball over from 15 yards.
The Nailers’ mini revival at the end of the first half continued after the break and their excellent harrying and chasing penned Alvechurch in their own half for long spells.
Derry Robson couldn’t steer the ball home from a left wing cross on 56 minutes, but at least the Nailers were looking the most likely team to break the deadlock.
Alvechurch substitutions appeared to do the trick for the visitors as they became more involved in the game and the dangerous Javia Roberts struck a looping shot over the target in the 62nd minute.
Danny Gordon’s teasing corner kick caused problems with 15 minutes to go but no amount of willing and urging from Nailers’ supporters would make the ball go in.
Charlie Dawes added impetus for Belper and his probing raids down the left, at least had the potential to lead to something positive.
A replay had looked the likely outcome as the game entered the final stages, but then a goal materialised out of the blue when Danny South, who had swapped places with Alex Peterson moments earlier, headed on a long pass to the feet of Charlie Dawes who let fly with an angle drive from 8 yards.
Church ‘keeper Lloyd Ransome, who had looked safe and secure beforehand barely had time to move before the net billowed behind him.
The Nailers had been defensively excellent throughout, and they continued to be so as they reduced their opponents to long range efforts from then on
They deservedly received raptuous applause as they left field at the end of the game.
Belper Town: Musselwhite, Bryant, Clark, Bertram (Waldram 83), South, Watt, Robson, Nelthorpe, Peterson, Milner (Dawes 63, Curtis (Gordon 60), Unused subs: Wright, Ridley, Kozluk, Pugh.
Alvechurch: Ransome, Morrison, Rowley, Goddard (Till 85), Willetts, Nabi (Nesbitt 45), Ezewele, Sauane, Archer (Gilbin 60), Monteiro, Roberts. Unused subs: Reeves, McNaught.
Referee: Alistair Nelson