Belper Town caused a big upset in the Emirates FA Cup as they beat Hednesford 2-1 through goals from John Guy and Ruben Wiggins-Thomas.
Hednesford Town, currently sixth in the Evo-Stik Premier - one league above the Nailers, looked as if they would be a difficult opponent for Charlie Palmer’s side.
Despite being the underdogs, the Nailers advanced.
Belper took the lead just 14 minutes in. Jonathan Williams put in a terrific cross from the left hand side that was perfect for Ruben Wiggins-Thomas who headed it into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, out of the reach of the Hednesford goalkeeper.
Hednesford almost levelled the score just a minute later after a ball came in from the left. Joel Logan’s shot seemed destined for the back of the net but Kyle Bryant appeared from out of nowhere to clear the ball to safety off of the line.
The home side had another opportunity to equalise not long after. An amazing run from George Carline saw him breeze through the Nailers defence, however, his shot sailed over the crossbar.
These missed chances, along with a number of poor passes by some of the Hednesford players began to frustrate them and their fans.
Belper had a couple of attacks with them playing some good passing football and keeping the ball well, however, they rarely troubled the goalkeeper and the majority of the Nailers shots were blocked before getting to the goalkeeper.
Belper took their lead into half time, despite not creating as many chances as Hednesford, the Nailers defence were looking very strong as Phil Watt and Gerome Palmer caused the Hednesford defence a lot of problems.
This strong defence continued to withhold a lot of Hednesford force, with Gerome Palmer making a fantastic last ditch block to keep Hednesford out early into the second half.
Charlie Gatter came onto the field 11 minutes into the second half for Jonathan Williams in order to solidify the Belper Town defence. He took John Guy’s position at left back as he pushed into a more forward like position.
This move by Charlie Palmer seemed to pay off. Kyle Bryant put in a good cross towards Ruben Wiggins-Thomas who headed back across goal for John Guy to meet with a flying header to double the lead for the Nailers.
This lead was reduced back to one just four minutes later. A Cohen Bramall strike set up a tense ending to the game, especially with the fourth official signalling a minimum of five minutes added time.
But the Nailers held strong to the final whistle and will now play in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup where they could face sides from the National League North and South.
Belper: Haystead, Bryant, Guy, Graves, G.Palmer, Watt, Armstrong, Williams (off), Wiggins-Thomas (off), Hollis, Steadman (off).
Subs: Ball (on), J.Palmer (on), Gatter (on), Constable, Reid, Haynes, Rathbone.
Hednesford: Crane, Wright, Bramall, Maye, Flanagan, Mutton, Singh, Thorley, Logan, Sammons, Carline.
Subs: Ransome, Dunkley, Francis, Williams, Glover, Geddes, Rowley.