Belper Town progress in FA Cup thanks to dramatic injury time winner

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Rikki Paylor sent Belper Town through to the next round of the Emirates FA Cup with an injury time header after Lincoln played the second half with only 10 men.

It was Paylor’s second goal of the game and was a timely finish that also brought some satisfaction after their 5-2 reverse at Lincoln three days earlier.

An injury to Max Beardmore led to the arrival of James Leverton, formerly of Doncaster Rovers who made his début, while Craig Nelthorpe was making his first appearance at the Silver X Stadium.

Dominic Allen was also a new name, all be it a familiar one, who was starting for the Nailers after he opted to switch back to Belper after initially signing for Gresley.

Joel Ambulu was making his first start of the season while skipper Alex Peterson was named in the back four to cover for Jake Sturgess who was serving the first of a three game suspension.

With increased prize money at stake this season there was an added incentive for both teams to push hard for a win, and the Nailers were hoping to achieve this at the first time of asking rather than face a replay at Lincoln.

An encouraging start was made by Belper with George Milner showing intent with a quick fire shot just over the cross bar after 2 minutes.

Joel Ambulu was unfortunate to see his shot hit the side netting after he had hunted down the ball following indecision in the Lincoln defence, however as the game started to open out, the visitors snatched the lead in a fortuitous fashion.

Only 19 minutes into his first game as a Belper player, James Leverton came out to clear a routine pass at the edge of the penalty area, when he totally miss-kicked, leaving Kevin Hemagou the opportunity to guide the ball home unchallenged.

Dominic Allen hit a fine effort just over the cross bar as the Nailers tried to recover quickly, then Joel Ambulu headed just over from a Cameron Clark cross.

Kevin Hemagou had a reasonable chance to extend Lincoln’s lead when he ran clear in the 35th minute but James Leverton saved his shot.

Then there was huge relief around the ground when Rikki Paylor stabbed the ball home on 40 minutes after a spell of incessant pressure in which an Ambulu overhead kick hit the bar, and another effort was beaten away by the ‘keeper, prior to Paylor’s strike.

Craig Nelthorpe hit a stunning effort narrowly wide as half time approached, and then the visitors suffered a blow when Matt Cotton was red carded for allegedly punching George Milner when the pair clashed on 45 minutes.

While the Nailers had numerical advantage after the break, Lincoln battled hard, sometimes uncompromisingly so, and it was tough going for Belper who knew the onus was on them to break the opposition down.

Joel Ambulu had a shot deflected after a good move in the 48th minute, and more good play on 54 minutes saw George Milner’s effort saved at the near post.

Craig Nelthorpe ran 25 yards with the ball but ran out of ideas as he entered the penalty area, and Darol Lucas had a shot that flashed past the far post.

The best chance of the half so far fell to Nelthorpe as Belper stretched the Lincoln defence on 73 minutes, but Michael Emery managed to get a hand to his stinging shot and the ball was cleared.

Nelthorpe was involved again soon afterwards with a long range effort that went just wide, and the same player sent a good header too close to the ‘keeper with less than five minutes left on the clock.

As Belper inched closer and closer to a goal, Dominic Allen headed just over in the 89th minute, and as the game spilled over into added on time a replay looked inevitable.

However with seconds left, and Belper mounting one final attack, Rikki Paylor won the tie for Belper with a perfectly placed header from 8 yards out

Belper now go into the draw for the next round that will be played in a fortnight’s time.

Belper Town. Leverton, Lucas (Gordon 74), Clark, Paylor, South, Peterson, Nelthorpe, Allen, Ambalu (Johal 67), Crouz (Curtis 67), Milner Unused subs: Day, Guy.

Lincoln United: Emery, Wright, Matthews, Wilson, Jacklin, Blunden (Nicholl 45), Norris (Smith 67), Whitehead, Hemegou (Garrick 74), Grimes, Cotton. Unused sub. Chapman

Referee: Samuel Wright

Att: 266