Belper Town suffer narrow defeat to Sheffield FC


Sheffield FC secured a narrow 2-1 victory at the Marston Stadium as Belper Town felt hard done to not share the spoils.

Assistant manager Lee Williamson oversaw four changes from the disaster against Frickley last week.

A long term injury to Jake Carlisle handed a first start for young Jake McIntosh. Aaron Cole, Anton Daniels and Cameron Steele replaced Joe Hunt, Dylan Garnett and Johnathon Jebison.

A bright start was certainly needed to rid the 6-0 defeat five days previous from the minds of Belper and they truly obliged.

Only the woodwork denied Sam Birks his third of the season when he hit the crossbar after interchanging neatly with Williamson.

Birks involved himself again, chipping a weighted ball to the back post for the leaping Daniels, who could only head straight at Jamie Ingham in the Sheffield goal.

After mustering more opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the tie than in the whole of the Frickley fixture, positivity was the emotion for the home side.

Right up until the 17th minute, as one ball straight through the Belper backline left James Gregory a free run on goal, his finish never in doubt.

From bad to worse in less than 120 seconds for Belper. Gregory turned provider this time, pulling his cross back into the path of the onrushing Andrew Gascoigne, dispatching calmly for a Sheffield second.

Instant action was required, and instant action was provided. Williamson whacked his strike into the back of the net at the third time of asking, as his initial shot was saved by Ingham before Birks struck the near post. Back the ball came to No.10 and from there he did the business.

Belper found joy down their right-hand side, Max Thornberry and Steele combining on more than one occasion. It was the full backs cross that lead to a less than convincing parry by Ingham, Williamson following up with a wild attempt at goal.

The visitors had knocked the wind out of Belper with their goals in quick succession and should’ve had a third after the ball ricochet into the path of Waide Fairhurst, who in turn blasted over from 8 yards out.

Chances came thick and fast throughout the tie and continued into the second period. Ben Turner marauded forward from right back, forcing a save out Joe Searson-Smithard.

The Nailers rear-guard was far from fortified at times, Joel Purkis allowed to run through but again failed to capitalize on a clear sight at goal, Searson making a routine stop.

Belper had lost their ebb and flow from the first half and resorted to long balls into the front men to very little effect.

Searson-Smithard will not have thanked his defenders for his protection, Gascoigne took his turn to face the keeper one-on-one. His attempted dink never looked likely to trouble the Belper goal but a let off none the less.

Golden chances weren’t in abundance for Belper, but as the ball feel to an unmarked Birks in the box it appeared like one of those moments. Unfortunately, he could only turn and strike straight at Ingham and out for a corner.

Sheffield’s cross bar was left shaking again, Williamson denied by a lick of paint after collecting substitute Will Dennis’s cross and going a whisker away from the equaliser.

Belper Town: Searson-Smithard, Thornberry, Cole, Allen (Dennis 72), McIntosh, Harrison, Steele, Lloyd, Birks, Williamson, Daniles (Hunt 89). Unused subs: Butcher, Garnett, Goddard.

Sheffield FC: Ingham, Turner, Brown, Lawrence, Morrison, Winter, Chapman, Gascoigne, Fairhurst (Osborne 89), Purkiss (Lindsey 55), Gregory. Unused subs: Roney, Magee, Yates.

Ref: Paul Buck.

Att: 103.