Belper Town’s new under-21 side were given a harsh lesson in their maiden outing, as they were swept aside 6-2 by their Sheffield United counterparts.
Played at the home of Stocksbridge Park Steels, the Blades were quickest out of the blocks and were two goals ahead inside the opening eight minutes.
Will Wraith was allowed space inside the box to swivel and drive the pall past Nailers’ stopper Mark Rathbone and then Jake Whelan outpaced full-back Jordan Carr and crossed for Nathaniel Crofts to score from close range.
Inbetween, Billy Barnes saw his header cleared off the line but Belper found a way back into the game after 10 minutes when Laurence Constable netted after an initial effort was blocked by the Blades’ defence.
However, this proved to be a false dawn for the Belper youngsters as United extended their lead after 18 minutes when they won possession in midfield and Jonathan Mundele sent Crofts clear and the United marksman finished in style,
Wraith send a shot crashing against the Belper crossbar as United continued to turn the screw whilst at the other end, Constable had two efforts from range that were easily gathered by Blades ‘keeper Thomas Wickstone.
United made it 4-1 just after the half-hour mark when Crofts took advantage of Belper’s sloppiness to net his treble.
It had been a torrid first half introduction but the young Nailers scored arguably the goal of the night just after the interval when Courtney Harris found the net with a 25-yard shot that flew past Wickstone.
After that though, Belper’s night got worse when Aidi Westfield was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Wraith but the remaining players never gave up against the technically superior opponents.
Belper fell 5-2 behind after 53 minutes when they failed to clear their lines and Wraith was able to bundle the ball in from close range to score his second of the night.
The visitors battled hard at this stage to stem the tide but they were undone with 10 minutes to go when a defensive mix-up allowed the excellent Joshua Birds to score the Blades’ sixth goal to wrap up proceedings.