BELPER Town manager Peter Duffield enjoyed a great week as he led his side to a brace of victories culminating in a rare FA Trophy win at Carlton last Saturday.
The Nailers’ record in the Trophy has been dismal to say the least and you have to look back to 2004 to find a victory in the competition when Rossendale United were beaten 3-0 at Christchurch Meadow.
Since then it’s been exits at the first stage until this season’s success at the Bill Stokeld Stadium – and what a game it was!
It took nine goals to settle a thrilling tie that really came to life after the break when both defences succumbed to pressure, and on two occasions, and almost a third, the Millers hit back within seconds of Belper equalising. The Nailers then broke the sequence by hitting a winner with 15 minutes on the clock.
Belper boss Peter Duffield couldn’t recall a game quite like it before in his managerial career.
“It was like a boxing match,” he said. “One minute we looked down and out and the next we were back in it and on a couple of occasions after equalising, we let them in and had to do it all over again.
“We didn’t play well in the first half and it was all a bit scrappy and to be honest we were hanging on a bit at the start of the second, but as we’ve already seen in previous games, we have the ability to bounce back and I was really proud of the way we took responsibility on the field and ground out a win.”
While Duffield acknowledged that while this was an excellent team effort he picked out Andy Rushbury’s second half performance that typified the spirit and determination of the team.
“He was magnificent,” enthused Duffield, “and I told him as much after the game.”
“They way he stuck in there to bring it back to 2-2 inspired the rest of the team and kept the game alive for us; it was by far and away his best game since I’ve been manager.
“All the players gave everything and that is the pleasing thing about the game. Their attitude has been spot on and even if we haven’t played quite as well, the players are enjoying it and even more so as we have won four out of five.”
It was a similar story in midweek as the Nailers battled hard against a buoyant Goole side that had won their previous five games, but found Belper a hard nut to crack.
Goole’s star striker Vill Powell had a couple of opportunities to score just after the break, but otherwise it was reasonably comfortable three points.