The Belper Town management were left scratching their heads after a nightmare home performance saw them concede five goals for the fourth time this season.
There can be no excuses with the latest defeat against a Quorn side that had only won seven times in the league all season and must have been surprised at how easily they won.
Manager Andy Carney certainly wasn’t offering any excuses and was critical of his team’s performance.
“We lost to a poor side, gifted four of the goals and beat ourselves in the end,” he said.
“It’s days like this that send you a clear message that says we just aren’t consistent enough and sometimes just not good enough.”
“Too many players aren’t delivering the goods particularly at home and I know people will say that I have brought them here and therefore it is my responsibility and I’m not shirking away from that.
“The players we have are the ones who will come for the money we can afford to pay and the majority of those that I wanted to bring to the club decided to go elsewhere for better money.
“We basically have a good squad of players, but most struggle to play at their best week in week out because if they did they would be playing at a higher level.
“We had a great run of three away wins and the lads worked their sock off for each other and that’s why we did well, but it’s a struggle at home because they know if things go wrong they get criticised. They do their best but some times its not enough and we have to keep working on it.”
The Nailers’ disastrous home form has undoubtedly cost them dear in both league and cup competitions and their record painfully shows that of 15 league games played at Christchurch Meadow, the Nailers have only managed to win five.
Their other two successes have come in the President’s Cup with wins over Quorn and Harrogate Railway, but in both FA competitions Belper crashed out at the first attempt also at Christchurch Meadow against Holbrook and Harrogate Railway.
Last Saturday’s clash with Quorn was typical of the performances endured by Nailers’ supporters this season with plenty of endeavour, but very little end product in front of goal.
Defensively they were back to their worst with two needless penalties and two more of the kind that everyone hoped they’d seen the last of when the Nailers went on a mini winning streak in February.
Impressive victories at Leek, Lincoln and Newcastle all of a sudden seem a world away after three successive home games that have yielded a single point.
Comfortably in front at half time against Rainworth the old insecurities returned when the visitors pulled one back in the second period, and although the Nailers had a wealth of opportunities to make the game safe, it was only thanks to the abilities of Ali Barcherini that defeat was avoided.
Rushall, a capable but certainly not the best team Belper have faced sneaked a win mainly because the Nailers couldn’t press home their advantage when they had it, and it’s difficult to know where to start regarding the debacle against Quorn.
It all started well enough and Jon Froggatt, Belper’s best performer by far, was unlucky to see a great effort on the turn hit the underside of the bar, but moments later the Nailers were a goal down thanks to an undeniably well struck shot from Ashley Robinson.
Former Nailer Russ Peel looked almost embarrassed when he scored the second after Belper were caught at the back, and when Richard Adams conceded a cheap penalty early in the second half, the Nailers were staring down the barrel of defeat.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas pulled one back for Belper but another penalty, this time conceded by Ali Barcherini as he attempted to claim the ball at the second attempt, meant that the Nailers’ winless home run continued.
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With at least eight wins required from their remaining 11 fixtures the play offs would now seem to be out of reach for the Nailers who have not been consistent enough all season, and their only remaining hope for honours lies with the President’s Cup.
Their semi final opponents Newcastle Town lost again last Saturday giving Belper hope that they can capitalise on their loss of form, and hopefully Tuesday’s (8th March) tie will have resulted in a win for the Nailers.
Defender Kallum Keane hopes to resume his professional career with Exeter City as he departs for a week’s trial on the 14th March
Grantham Town are the visitors to Christchurch Meadow this coming Saturday and on Tuesday evening (15th March) Newcastle make their second visit in seven days, this time for a league fixture.
Darryl Thomas who began a two game suspension last Saturday should be back in contention for the Grantham game.