Not for the first time this season, Belper Town underlined what they are capable of by battling back for an impressive draw away to promotion-chasing Newcastle Town on Saturday.
The Staffordshire hosts sat as high as fourth in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, First Division table after winning ten of their previous 14 homes games.
But after falling behind in the 22nd minute, the Nailers recovered to earn a well-deserved 1-1 draw thanks to Alex Steadman’s second-half strike. Josh Thornton delivered an excellent cross into the box and Steadman brought the ball down before finisning well to the ‘keeper’s left.
Steadman had also been on the end of Belper’s best chance of the opening half when making a fine run from the left into the area and trying to curl an effort into the bottom corner, only for the shot to be deflected just wide off a defender.
However, Newcastle went ahead when Jordan Cole lobbed onrushing ‘keeper Scott Low, and early in the second period, they went looking for a killer second goal, forcing the visitors to defend bravely.
An outstanding display by Low, who pulled off a number of reflex saves, kept the home side at bay, though. He was equal to everything Newcastle could throw at him, including one particularly smart stop from a close-range shot.
But while Low caught the eye of everyone in the crowd of 122, praise must also go to defender Gerome Palmer, who made several courageous tackles that thwarted the hosts’ attacks on more than one occasion. Palmer was also the first to react to almost every rebound that fell in the box and needed to be dealt with.
Belper went into the match as clear underdogs, but thanks to solid performances in all areas of the field, they emerged with a terrific result against extremely tough opposition.