While Belper Town returned from Goole in midweek with a comfortable 3-0 victory under their belts, there was disappointment in front of their own supporters once again last Saturday when Carlton Town scored two goals without reply.
“It was disappointing to concede twice in the last 15 minutes,” said manager Peter Duffield, “and I thought we had done enough to earn a point against a very good Carlton side.”
“They are the form team at present and they have a settled side whereas ours is still in transition,” he added.
“We matched them for 75 minutes, although I accept that they looked more comfortable on the ball at times, if we had taken a couple of chances that we created early on it would have been a different story.”
“I’m not happy when we lose any game but this wasn’t a Market Drayton performance and I did see some positives, although we still need to have belief in ourselves especially at home.”
It emerged that Duffield had attempted to lure Ruben Wiggins-Thomas back to Christchurch Meadow last week because he recognises that his team lack pace where it counts.
“I thought that the deal was almost done,” said Duffield, “But obviously at the last moment Carlton persuaded him to stay which was disappointing but these things happen in football.”
The former Belper striker certainly proved a point on his return to Christchurch Meadow, albeit in a Carlton shirt by scoring both goals to condemn the Nailers to their fourth consecutive home defeat.
Everyone was much happier after the win at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds against Goole, although the standard of the opposition proved less of a test for the Nailers than did Carlton.
“When we can play our way we look a decent side,” said Duffield, “and we showed that against Goole.”
“We took our chances and defended well when we needed to and we never looked like relinquishing the 3-0 lead we had built up at half time.”
New striker Ashley Longstaff got of to a great start to his Belper career by scoring on his debut, and with Charlie Weir making his first appearance since his return to the club, Duffield had praise for both.
“It was a good start for them,” he said, “it was nice to see Ashley get off the mark in his first game and I thought Charlie was excellent for us.”
Longstaff looked less effective against Carlton but it emerged afterwards that he had insisted on playing despite having had a sickness bug during the latter part of last week.
Dan White is back in training and is expected to be back in contention next week while Damien Magee will also be available after serving a one game suspension after accumulating five bookings.
Deon Meikle could be a doubt for Tuesday’s (29th) home fixture against Sutton Coldfield after sustaining a dead leg last Saturday although Michael Simpkins is back in training after recovering from a knee injury that has blighted the start of his spell at Christchurch Meadow.
Andy Rushbury, who has been involved in every game except the Worksop League Cup tie was rested for the trip to Goole last Tuesday, but any fears of an injury to the Nailers’ longest serving player were allayed by his return to the bench last Saturday.
The arrival of Charlie Weir adds competition to the left of midfield slot and although Rushbury has enjoyed virtual automatic selection since the start of the season he will now have to compete for a place in the starting line up with Weir.
Jordan Turner starts a three game suspension on Saturday after his rather harsh sending off for elbowing an opponent in the latter stages of the game at Market Drayton and will miss three away games; beginning with Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday, Grantham in midweek (Tuesday) and New Mills on September 10.
The Nailers’ Derbyshire Senior Cup tie against Derby County will take place on Tuesday, December 13 and as Belper are the home team, the game will of course be staged at Christchurch Meadow with a 7.45pm kick-off.