A terrific Tuesday evening ended with Belper Town securing a spot in the next round of the Derbyshire Senior Cup, with a 6-0 win over Dronfield.
Cup upsets will forever be at the forefront on managers minds and with two divisions separating the sides this was no different for Grant Black.
“We haven’t lost two games in a row all season, so we had an eye on that not to happen,” he said. “We went out tonight to be professional and I thought the lads did that really well.”
“What we were very cautious of tonight is telling the lads ‘keep it realistic.’ It’s easy to get into a training game mentality, popping it about.”
Darol Lucas opened the affair from right-back, along with Derry Robson and a Craig Nelthorpe spot-kick to accompany Kai Hancock’s hard earned hat-trick.
It was the latter who sparkled amongst a side who shone with swagger on the night and Black was beaming at the striker’s result.
He said: “Works hard, great finishers as you’ve seen tonight. Once we’ve got him fit, it was nice to get 90 minutes out of him, once we get him match fit, he’ll be one fans will really like for those reasons.
“We are excited that he’s got a hat-trick which will give him confidence. I thought we looked really threatening going forward and we probably could have, should’ve had more.”
One sided affair sprung to mind following the Belper battering, which was evident to the manager and anyone inside the Silver X Stadium.
“Games like today you get that extra bit of space and it gives you the chance to show your range of passing off or your dribbling ability,” he said.
“I think the lads did that, they had a 10-minute spell when they were sluggish and we spoke about that at half time. We kicked on second half and we were more professional from there.”
A clean sheet was also warmly appreciated, only a fifth of the campaign, not a true reflection of how effectively the backline has performed at times.
Black echoed these feelings: “The frustrating thing for us is we very rarely get carved open and concede a good goal against us. We’ve conceded too many for our liking, the goals we feel we shouldn’t be conceding. Any clean sheet is going to breed confidence for a back four who look very solid.”
Team selection has never been straightforward for Black, having yet to name the same starting line up in successive fixtures all season and Tuesday’s result won’t make Saturday’s choices any easier.
Hancock earning the match ball was the standout headache, yet Danny Gordan and Lucas made stiff claims to be starting against Tadcaster Albion at the weekend. However, this is a rightful reflection of the strength in depth Black has crafted and he more than relishes the difficult decisions.
“We said before the game we’ve got players good enough in the 16 coming into starting the 11. Us as management team we want that toughness. We don’t want to be thinking who we are going to play because they’re not good enough.
“We’ve got a good headache for Saturday. That’s what keeps players on their toes.”
A sticky set of Evo-Stik games awaits The Nailers, Tadcaster first followed by Frickley Athletic.
“Confidence should be high going into Saturday based on where we are and where the club’s been over recent years. The buzz around the club. Another win on a Tuesday night will give us that extra boost and a spring in their step.”