Magic Milner hits late winner for Belper Town

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George Milner’s terrific late solo goal capped a magnificent performance as Belper Town climbed above Pontefract Collieries with only their second home.

Milner struck in the 87th minute as the Nailers won 3-2 to take the Northern Premier League Division One East points.

Danny South returned to the heart of the defence, replacing Piteu Crouz and pushing captain Alex Peterson further forward.

Belper might have been excused for suffering a hangover from the Stamford midweek trip, but it was the home side who dominated proceedings early on without getting the rub of the green.

Milner made space for his small frame to turn and curl a shot goalwards, only for Ponterfract stopper Ryan Musselwhite to deny a goal.

Seconds later Belper were denied again when Rikki Paylor’s looping header was tipped on to the underside of the bar.

They were made to rue the unfortunate misses when The Colls when hesitation from the home centre halves allowed Eli Hey to smuggle in and slot past Leigh Overton for the Ponterfract opener.

Manager Grant Black has installed new-found optimism into the Silver X Stadium, however, and his squad refused to lie down, instead fighting back with pace and energy.

Their reaction was rewarded when Milner’s inch-perfect pass on the half-hour found Derry Robson, who broke through the defensive lines and cooly rolled in the equaliser.

Hey had a handful of half chances at the other end as the first half ended 1-1.

In the second period Belper continued to dominate.

Milner was the mastermind again, unwilling to let Pontefract rest at the back.

Retaining possession inside the area, he reversed the ball back into the path of Alex Peterson, who had the simplest task of tapping Belper in front.

Nathan Curtis and the mercurial Milner missed opportunities to extend the narrow lead with soft shots straight at the keeper.

Predictably, Belper were made to pay when Jack Greenhough’s gigantic long throw was not dealt with by those in yellow and black and Hey, unmarked at the back post, rocketed his shot past Overton.

In the final ten minutes possession swung between the two teams as both wrestled for a winner.

And in mesmerising style magic Milner found it. He began an outstanding run inside his own half, leaving Pontefract defenders in his wake. As the ball stuck to his boot, he drifted slightly wide and placed his strike with perfection to seal a man-of-the-match performance and secure victory.

Belper Town FC: Overton, Sturgess, Clark, Paylor, South (Hough 88), Assenso, Nelthorpe, Robson (Gordan 70), Peterson, Milner, Curtis (Crouz 76). Unused subs: Lucas, Esmaeily.

Ponterfract Collieries: Musselwhite, Greenhough, Sythe, Picton, Gray (Cotton 45), Clarke, Cromack, Seed (Jeffs 59), Hey, Redford, Starchenko. Unused subs: Varley, Williams.