Chances go begging as Belper’s winless run continues at Market Drayton

Heartache for Belper's Alex Steadman after Alfreton 'keeper Matt Duke saves his spot kick - Pic by: Richard Parkes
Heartache for Belper's Alex Steadman after Alfreton 'keeper Matt Duke saves his spot kick - Pic by: Richard Parkes

Belper Town were left frustrated on Saturday when they were narrowly beaten 1-0 away at Market Drayton.

The Nailers went into the game with an impressive record away from home, with just one defeat from their five away games in the league this season.

Market Drayton had only won once so far this season at home prior to kick-off and would have gone into this one expecting a tough test.

Belper had reason to be optimistic before the game in the hope of putting an end to their recent bad run of form, with one win in their last six games.

The game opened at an extremely fast tempo and both sides struggled to keep possession going forward. Market Drayton counter attacked quickly as they tried to catch the Belper defenders out in the first few minutes.

But the Nailers’ centre-back partnership of Phil Watt and Gerome Palmer held strong to prevent this barrage of counter attacks from the Market Drayton forwards.

The addition of Matt Richards into the Belper midfield showed an intent to attack from manager Charlie Palmer right from the get go.

This move looked as if it had paid off five minutes before the end of the half when Richards was brought down in the area to earn the Nailers a penalty.

Alex Steadman stepped up to take the penalty and drilled it towards the top left. But Market Drayton keeper Ashley Rawlins produced an outstanding save to keep the game goalless.

Just before the end of the half, Belper right-back Will Dennis took a knock to his knee while defending a low cross from Market Drayton. He attempted to continue but simply couldn’t and so he was substituted at half-time in place of Michael Armstrong.

The Nailers continued to press the Market Drayton defence in the second half, particularly through impressive runs from Anthony Griffith-Junior, giving Market Drayton’s left back some serious problems.

One of these tricky Griffith-Junior runs gave Steadman another opportunity to give the Nailers the lead. His close range shot was parried over the bar by the keeper to earn the Nailers a corner which would inevitably be cleared.

Market Drayton produced another quick counter attack not long after this, earning themselves a corner. The ball was delivered superbly to find Tyrell Payton unmarked in the box. His glancing header found the corner to give Market Drayton the lead.

But the Nailers didn’t roll over. Phil Watt and Eric Graves urged their team-mates to keep their heads up and continue to push and get themselves a goal.

The biggest opportunity of the game fell to Ruben Wiggins-Thomas when he found himself one-on-one with the Market Drayton goalkeeper.

The keeper was slightly off his line so Wiggins-Thomas decided to try and lob the opposing number one, but the execution was poor.

With hindsight, Wiggins-Thomas may have regretted not trying to place the ball into a corner given the opportunity and he couldn’t hide his frustration.

With that went the chance to put an end to the winless run. Nailers’ attentions now turn to AFC Rushden & Diamonds, as they search for a first home win of the season.