Belper Town won their first silverware of the season when the defeated Matlock Town 5-3 on penalties to win the Caroline Melbourne Cup.
The Nailers completed their pre-season programme with a home fixture against local rivals Matlock at a sunny but cool Marston’s Stadium with conditions perfect for football.
Charlie Palmer’s starting line up perhaps gave a clue as to the personnel he will select for Saturday’s visit to Kidsgrove although there were plenty of candidates on the subs bench who would be making a late claim for a first eleven spot.
The Gladiators team included former Belper player Laurie Wilson in their line up.
After a promising opening five minutes it was Matlock who could have opened the scoring when Anthony Griffiths broke clear and only a fine tackle from Phil Watt prevented an early lead for the visitors.
Ryan King cut inside in the 15th minute and had Danny Haystead at full stretch with a low shot intended for just inside of the post, and the Nailers responded well by getting balls into the box and in particular Matt Richards who had got the better of Liam Marsdon a couple of times to get good crosses over.
The Nailers took the lead in the 32nd minute when Ruben Wiggins-Thomas collected the ball on the edge of the six yard area and turned to hit a deflected shot past Arron Jameson who was helpless to prevent the ball going in.
The visitors stepped up the pace after the goal and the Nailers had to defend a number of corner kicks and crosses all of which came to nothing for the Gladiators.
The second half started at high tempo with both sides misplacing passes to give the other a fleeting advantage on occasions.
A Laurie Wilson free kick in the 64th minute led to a Matlock equaliser.
Wilson’s initial kick was partially blocked by the defensive wall but the ball squirmed through to Jake Green who managed to turn the ball past Danny Haystead from close in.
The game began to degenerate as challenges came in thick and fast until eventually in the 77th minute there was a free for all in the middle of the pitch.
After considerable deliberation, the referee showed red cards to Mike Armstrong and Laurie Wilson then he went to the touch line and sent off a Matlock club member from the dugout who had run on to the pitch during the fracas.
It came as no surprise that the game petered out to end the 90 minutes all square, and a penalty competition was need to separate the two teams to determine who was to lift the Trophy.
Niall MCManus blasted Matlock’s third spot kick over the cross bar while the Nailers converted a perfect quintet with Louis Keenan, Dominic Allen, Niaile Rodney, Jordan Ball and Laurence Constable all beating Arron Jameson comfortably.
Belper Town; Haystead, Bryant, Guy, graves, Palmer, Watt, Armstrong, Williams, Wiggins-Thomas, Hollis, Richards. Subs (used) Rodney, Palmer J, O’Brian, Constable, Keenan, Allen, Ball, Butcher). Unused: Rathbone.
Matlock Town: Jameson, Marsden, Todd, Yates, Wiley, Degirolamo, King, Wilson, Griffiths, Green, McManus. Subs: (Used) Travis, Yates J, Edgson (Unused) savage, Bartle.
Referee: James King.