Belper Town undone by last ditch Whitby Town equaliser

Jon Froggatt puts Belper 1-0 up. Pic by Tim Harrison
Jon Froggatt puts Belper 1-0 up. Pic by Tim Harrison

Belper Town suffered a late heartbreak on Valentine’s Day as Whitby scored with the last kick of the game to snatch a 3-3 draw.

Jason Stokes earned his debut for Belper after signing last week, as Albans’ side put in their best performance of his early reign so far, and deserved all three points.

The Nailers started the much brighter of the two, and could have been four goals up inside the first 16 minutes.

Jon Froggatt steered a header on target from six yards out after just three minutes, which Bland did well to tip away for s corner.

Scott Matthews then saw a pile-driving effort from range edge just wide of the far right post, after a positive ten yard run down the left hand side.

Stokes then showed the Nailers fans why Albans signed him, as his jinking run down the left resulted in a low cross for Froggatt, whose first time strike was tipped on to the inside of the post and cleared away desperately by the defender.

From the resulting corner, Phil Watt rose highest from eight yards out to head the ball wide of the target, with the ‘keeper routed to his spot.

Despite missed opportunities, Belper didn’t let up, and opened the scoring after twenty-two minutes.

Again it was Jason Stokes down the left hand side causing the problems.

This time he cut inside onto his favourite right foot and drilled a fine effort on goal, which Jon Froggatt redirected to make sure it was find its way in to the top corner, and give Bland no chance of keeping it out.

Three minutes later, Belper scored their second goal to shell-shock Whitby after a lightening first twenty-five minutes.

Stokes won a free kick on the left hand side of the penalty area, which McGhee took charge of.

McGhee swung the ball in with pace, and Michael Towey got in front of the ‘keeper to guide his header into the back of the net.

The game then settled down for the next fifteen minutes as the Seasiders looked to get back in to the game.

The home side nearly pulled on back just after the half hour mark when Kevin Burgess had a free header from point blank range cleared off the line by Ian Ross.

However, Whitby halved the deficit with four minutes to go before the break, after sloppy play by the Nailers.

Dale Hopson picked the ball up in the centre of midfield and was allowed to carry the ball some twenty yards.

Hopson then slipped James Brown in behind Watt and finished first time with a neat left-footed shot beyond the body of Haystead.

The second half proved just as dramatic as the first, with three more goals being scored equal the game up.

The home side scored an equaliser on the 65th minute after brilliant play by Hopson on the edge of the box.

The technical midfielder played a close one-two with Brown to find space inside the box before pulling the trigger.

Haystead made the initial save, but Steven Snaith reacted first to follow up with a close range finish.

On several occasions this season, Belper have caved in once conceding the lead in a game.

However, this time, the struck back just two minutes later the regain the lead on the 67th minute to go back in front.

Stokes drove in a beautiful cross from the left hand side on the angle of the box, and Grimes headed the ball down at the far post for Michael Towey to steal in and finish brilliantly into the far right corner, from a tight angle.

The remainder of the game looked relatively comfortable for the Nailers, with Haystead making only one key save from a free kick.

However, Belper’s genuine lack of fortune struck once more, as a hopeful ball in to the box on the 95th minute was dealt with by the defender, until the ball dropped kindly for substitute Robert Nolen, who to his credit, produced a fine low volley to squeeze the ball into the bottom right corner, and break Belper’s hearts.

Whitby Town: Bland, Hassan, Robinson (Waters 87), Burgess, Pell, McTiernan, Williams (Mason 41), Hopson, Brown (Nolan 62), Snaith, King. Subs: Bullock, Shepherd.

Belper Town: Haystead, Turner, Matthews, Lister, Watt, Ross, McGhee, Towie, Grimes, Froggatt (Stevenson 88), Stokes (Williams 77). Subs: Adams, Warne.

Referee: Marc Edwards (Gateshead)

Attendance: 255