Belper Town won their fourth consecutive pre-season friendly in the sunshine at Christchurch Meadow on Saturday, beating an Ilkeston FC team that provided a good test with under two weeks remaining until the Evo-Stik League campaign kicks off.
Belper came out on top in a five-goal thriller and manager Peter Duffield was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We stuck together, that was the most pleasing thing,” he explained. “We were pleased with the test Ilkeston gave us, it’s more valuable than beating teams 10-0 and finding it easy. If we had lost the game 3-2, I would still have been pleased with the performance from the players.
“We had to adapt and change our style, due to players missing. We played a 4-3-3, which is a system the players aren’t used to. With playing three centre forwards, we tried to push our full backs up the field to provide some width. I thought the lads did very well”.
He continued: “We made some substitutions in the second half and bringing Antony Rowley on certainly made a difference, particularly with his delivery for the winning goal”.
Peter Duffield was also keen to praise the new signings made this summer. “Jamie Jackson has got everything. He has pace, strength, power and he can score goals. The most important thing for me is they all feel involved, and they are working very hard for the team. We all need to work together”.
“We’ve got two weeks to go, and we are going to need those two weeks to make sure we are at the level required. But I have to say the players are looking sharp. They feel ready, and are looking forward to the new season kicking off.
“The pleasing thing for me is everybody is playing well, and there is still a question for me to answer regarding the starting 11. You could see against Ilkeston the substitutes came on and played ever so well. It’s a good question to be faced with, but it’s one that can be answered over the next few weeks”.