After a promising performance against Stamford in mid-week, Belper Town crashed to an alarming 5-1 home defeat by basement club Cleethorpes Town.
It was the manner of defeat that rings early alarm bells for the Nailers as they were left propping up the Evo-Stick East League table on Saturday night..
Injuries and suspensions aren’t helping manager Grant Black’s cause, but as so many good things are happening off the field for Belper Town, it is a worry that on-field issues are taking the gloss off them, at the moment.
The news that Dominic Allen will be missing for some months to come after sustaining a knee injury came as a blow to the management, and the fact that new recruits Derry Robson and Kai Hancock were unavailable meant that there were fewer options available to Grant Black.
However the question needs to be asked as to why only three substitutes were available, particularly for a home game.
Belper were the best team for the first 20 minutes or so and played some good football during this period.
Nathan Curtis did well to get the ball back from the bye-line on 11 minutes but there wasn’t anyone on hand to take advantage, then Ricky Paylor headed a Danny Gordon header at the far post, and Dylan Parkin saved instinctively.
The Nailers were rewarded for their good spell in the 19th minute when Danny Gordon cleverly headed in a far post cross from the narrowest of angles
Darol Lucas was close to reaching an Alex Peterson flick on two minutes later and soon afterwards Nathan Curtis was unlucky to see his flick go over the cross bar.
Cleethorpes equalised on 32 minutes when Scott Vernon ghosted in at the far post to nod the ball in, and things began to slide for Belper when Alex Beardmore rushed out to make a clearance, and being totally fooled by the bounce of the ball, left Brady Robinson the simplest of tasks to run the ball in to the goal.
The visitors had two chances early in the second half with Beardmore tipping over Alex Flett’s drive and Robertson hit the side netting after getting on the end of a Sam Topliss cross.
The visitors strengthened their grip on the game in the 54th minute when Paul Walker headed a corner kick past Beardmore from 12 yards out, and The Owls never looked like relinquishing their lead from then on.
Josh Batty had a great chance to make it four when he went through on a one on one only to be thwarted by Alex Beardmore in the Belper goal, however the next goal wasn’t far away and it came on 71 minutes when Scott Vernon banged in his second after Belper had lost possession on the bye-line.
Beardmore denied Vernon his hat trick with a fine stop in the 85th minute, but the Nailers were opened up easily once again on 90 minutes allowing substitute Lewis Collins to drill the ball in from 15 yards.
It may only be the sixth league game of the season but it would be fair to say that supporters would have hoped for a better start to the season than this.
Belper Town. Beardmore, Assenso, Johal (Sissmey 80), Paylor, South, Sturgess (Crouz 45), Gordon, Lucas, Peterson (Clark 60), Milner, Curtis.
Cleethorpes Town: Parkin, Topliss, Walker, Disley, Bloomer, Lowe, Richardson (Collins 77), Flett, Vernon, Robertson (Burchell 81), Batty (McKay 71). Unused subs: Gray
Referee: Robert Hathaway.