Belper Town successfully secured three points at The Seddon Stadium on Saturday afternoon, claiming another one-goal victory, this time over Kidsgrove Athletic.
Manager Peter Duffield made two changes to the side that beat Romulus a week earlier, with Chris Jones returning from injury and Luke Beatson starting at the heart of the defence for the absent Dan White.
The opening 15 minutes showed little or no opportunity to open up, with both teams seeking to take early control where possible.
The first chance came for Nailers’ captain Steve Warne after some delightful one-touch football on the right. Simon Harrison cut the ball back to Chris Jones, who ran beyond his marker.
Jones then cut back and played a simple pass to Warne who cleverly played a first time one-two with Simon Harrison and fired in a shot from inside the area, which went a foot wide.
Jones then had a chance of his own just short of the 20-minute mark, when Phil Watt’s intelligent pass to Jones was taken in the full back’s stride.
Jones then carried the ball ten yards and unleashed a strong effort from range, which forced Daniel Read into making a fine save, stretching down low to his right hand post to tip the ball behind for a corner.
Kidsgrove then had their first opportunity rather wasted after a poor clearance by Beatson was cut out by Aiden Matranga, who fed a first-time ball down the left hand hand side for Jordan Johnson to latch onto. However his hurried shot was sliced and edged over to the right, going out for a Nailers throw.
Jon Froggatt produced a neat touch and turn past Nicholas Woods to create half a yard on the edge of the box. Froggatt then powered a low drive which was saved by the feet of Read.
Jordan Johnson then had another effort for the Grove on the 36th minute. However in a similar position to his first on the left, could only steer the ball wide of the near post.
Kidsgrove’s best chance came after 38 minutes when a corner was drilled in by Kevin Street towards the far post, where Paul Taylor was on hand to loop in a headed effort, tipped over the bar well by Scot Low.
The second half showed more promise, as both teams created clearer chances with both defences starting to open up. Mark Ward dragged a shot wide of the post after finding space inside The Grove half after 50 minutes, and Thomas Wakefield’s shot just wide of the left hand post for the home side after cutting inside on his favourite left foot on the edge of the area nine minutes later.
Kidsgrove were then left rueing a missed opportunity one-on-one with the Nailers’ keeper on the 65th minute. After a spell of pressure from Belper, The Grove were able to break down the left through Cohen Bramall, who played a terrific crossfield pass for Wakefield on the right, whose first touch was right on the money, only for Scot Low to come out well and narrow the angle, resulting in Wakefield poking the ball just wide.
A minute later Matt Haddrell had a free header on the six yard box which he could only place wide.
Just when it seemed the game needed freshening up, the Nailers’ manager reacted well by making an inspired substitution. Kieran Wells came on to replace Froggatt upfront, and with Wells’s first touch of the game, he won his side a penalty after hitting a half-volley inside the box, stopped by the arm of Taylor.
Colin Marrison was the man to step up after Froggatt had left the field, and he made no mistake as he smashed the ball into the bottom left corner, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way on the 70th minute.
The game was then stretched for the final 20 minutes, and the Nailers did brilliantly to continue attacking Kidsgrove and not sit back and invite needless pressure.
Wells was at it again when his persistent pressure on Taylor led to him winning the ball on the edge of area, to then feed the ball into Mark Ward who could only strike over from inside the area.
Belper Town: Scot Low, Chris Jones, James Cullingworth (Liam Davis 63), Gareth Davies, Phil Watt, Luke Beatson, Simon Harrison, Steve Warne, Jon Froggatt (Kieran Wells 69), Mark Ward, Colin Marrison. Subs: Sam Duncum, Joe Flint, Michael Godber.
Referee: Mark Astley (Manchester)