Belper United reserves and Holbrook St Michaels Reserves share the spoils

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Belper United Reserves and Holbrook St Michaels Reserves played out a 1-1 draw.

The game got off to the worst possible start for Belper as a hopeful ball over the defence caused confusion and Holbrook winger Richard West nipped in to drill the ball passed Rathbone with less than minute on the clock.

This knocked Belper for six and they were struggling to keep the ball and get out of their half as Holbrook dominated in every aspect.

Despite their dominance, Holbrook’s only real threat was coming from corners or free kicks around the area.

From a corner Belper switched off and forward Tom Aston was left in yards of space inside the area, but his header went high and wide.

Ten minutes later another corner caused problems with Holbrook defender Dec Stone finding space this time, but seeing his header go wide of the post too.

It took almost 30 minutes for Belper to get into the game as Tom Curtis started causing problems down Holbrook’s right side.

In the second half Belper came out a completely different side and started putting all the pressure on Holbrook.

Now Holbrook were the team that was unable to hold of the ball as Jamie Milton and Matt Freeman started to dominate the midfield area.

The pressure was rewarded less the ten minutes into the half when quick feet from Ryan Foran saw him beat two players before playing in James Dennis down the right, who squared the ball to Paul Robinson who tapped home from three yards.

Belper carried on their good work and almost went in front minutes later when a Dennis shot was strangely parried by the Holbrook ‘keeper and Robinson was inches away from putting in the rebound.

Holbrook were starting to struggle to get forward and their only real chance in the opening 30 minutes of the second half was a long range effort from Tom Aston which was comfortably saved by Mark Rathbone.

In the last 15 minutes the game started to be an end to end affair but once again Holbrook’s danger came from corners only with Richard West and Jordan Blount swinging balls in which were causing big problems.

However, in the dying minutes it was Belper who had two great chances to take all three points. Firstly, substitute George Marshall raced clear of the Holbrook defence after cutting in from the right and shot towards goal with the ‘keeper managing to get the ends of his fingers to the ball to push it inches wide.

From the resultant corner another substitute, Dan Walliss, made a run into the box and found space but his header went inches by the post as well.

Belper boss Dave Kinder said: “At half-time we knew the issues that were the problem and they were all of our own making. As soon as we sorted those out in the dressing room we started to look the better side which is what I expected.

“We all know most of their players and on paper we know we should have probably beaten them but football isn’t played on paper and they showed a lot of character and determination in that first half and deserved their lead.

“In the end a draw was probably a fair result, but if we had taken one of our chances in the last few minutes I don’t think anyone could have complained as their ‘keeper was by far the busier in the second half.”