Disappointment for United teams

Sam Vickers of Belper United''Photo by Terry Fletcher
Sam Vickers of Belper United''Photo by Terry Fletcher

Belper United went to high-flying Clifton All Whites on Saturday in the Central Midlands League but came back with nothing.

Belper took the lead late in the first half with a Sam Vickers goal but even though Adam Jablonski saved a second half penalty, goals from Phil Massingham and Connor Hardy took all three points for Clifton.

This second straight league defeat now sees United lanquishing in midtable with a big cup game tonight (Wednesday) against Mickleover Royals and a very tough home game against top six side Allenton United at Christchurch Meadow on Saturday.

n As for the reserves, Darren Mayes and Mark Bailey had players unavailable or on first team duty on Saturday for the local derby with Holbrook St Michaels Reserves.

Ash Dhindsa returned after suspension, Richard Holmes and Liam Smith both were back after being out for a while, Veteran Craig Smithurst also started with Darren Mayes taking a slot on the bench.

Holbrook started very brightly and in the second minute Lewis Bamford had to be at full stretch to tip an effort around the post.

This set a pattern for next 15 minutes with a couple of chances being blazed over and Lewis Bamford pulling off a couple more great saves.

Belper United finally got a foothold in the match after 20 minutes and even had a couple of chances through Dan Griffin, After 36 minutes. Holbrook’s pace out wide and upfront was causing the United a constant problem and after 36 minutes they cut the defence apart again and smashed the ball into the top corner.

However, just before half time, Holbrook St Michaels let Belper back into the game after some bad defending presented Ben Litchfield with an open goal and a tap-in.

Holbrook started the second half well and again looked to have the game won on 50 minutes after a diving header at the far post found the net.

Holbrook were playing all the football but United were digging in and not giving up, and, with Lewis Bamford in goal, they always had a chance.

After 80 minutes, the game looked to have completely changed. A brilliant Belper cross into the six-yard box brought a thunderous header from Dan Griffin which flew past Chris Whiteley.

Four minutes later, United had equalised when a clumsy challenge in the box resulted in a penalty and Richard Holmes easily converted to make it 3-3.

Belper United’s elation only lasted 60 seconds as the pace of Holbrook undid United again and even though Lewis Bamford saved the first effort he could do nothing about the second as Holbrook St Michaels took a deserved three points.

After the game, Darren Mayes said: “We had spent all morning cobbling together a side after all the dropouts and knew when Holbrook turned up with a very strong squad that it was going to be a long day.

“And while they fully deserved the victory, our players did us proud and we contributed to a very entertaining game of football.

“Special mention has to be made to man of the match Lewis Bamford in goal, who has been outstanding all game. He has improved a lot this season and is working very hard with his coach, so well done Bammy.”