A man-of-the-match performance by Jonathan Williams helped Belper Town get back to winning ways in Division One South of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League with a 3-0 victory nover struggling Rugby Town.
For most of the first hour, it looked as if The Nailers would struggle to break down a stubborn Rugby side sitting next to bottom in the table. But midfielder Williams came to the rescue, having a hand in the opening goal and then scoring the next two himself to cement Belper’s mid-table status.
The breakthrough finally arrived in the 58th minute when Williams delivered an excellent cross towards Ruben Wiggins-Thomas in the box. Rugby defender Kyle Rowley beat him to the header but only succeeded it in diverting the ball past his own ‘keeper and in to the top corner.
The lead was doubled 14 minutes later when Belper were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out. Williams went for the ‘keeper’s near post and his superb effort fizzed into the roof of the net.
The goal that sealed the points for the hosts, five minutes from the end, was tinged with more good fortune. This time Williams’s effort from distance took a deflection that badly wrongfooted the visiting custodian, who could only get the faintest of touches on the ball before it nestled in the net.
It was the 22nd defeat of the campaign for relegation-battling Rugby and, in the end, it was convincing enough for Charlie Palmer’s outfit. However, the first half had been a story of frustration as the goalscoring problem that has afflicted them all season had them pulling their hair out again. They created numerous chances but could not take a single one, with Alex Steadman, Evan Garnett and Wiggins-Thomas all failing to take advantage.
Rugby posed no real attacking threat throughout the game. However, they did have the ball in the net early in the second half, only for a linesman’s flag to rule that the scorer was offside.
One negative from the fixture for Belper was the tenth yellow card of the season for Phil Watt, which meant he would miss the nest two matches -- away to Lincoln United on Tuesday night and away to promotion-chasing Newcastle Town this coming Saturday.
The 19-year-old Jordon Richards was likely to replace Watt at the heart of the backline, having made a solid debut against Rugby after joining from Notts County until the end of the season. Richards has featured in seven of the Magpies’ first-team games.
Last Saturday’s contest also marked the first appearance of Dylan Garnett, who went on at half-time to replace Steadman. Operating mostly on the wing, ex-Burton Albion youngster Garnett almost set up his brother, Evan, for a goalscoring opportunity.
The match at Newcastle is sure to be a tough one. They have won of their 14 home games this term.