A missed penalty cost promotion-chasing Belper United probable victory over top-of-the-table Teversal in the East Midlands Counties League’s Premier Division.
Instead they had to be content with a 1-1 draw, which left them in fifth place, five points behind the leaders with a game in hand.
The spot-kick came midway through the first half when Michael Dunne was brought down in the area. Dunne dusted himself down to take the kick himself, but the Teversal ‘keeper, Josh Turton, dived to his right to pull off a penalty save for the second game running.
Teversal had already taken a 13th minute lead when Kurt Bamford’s corner found the six-yard box, where Dave Cockerill was on hand to add another goal to his sizeable collection with a sublime header.
But Belper had made a bright start to the match themselves and almost scored when Thomas Curtis let fly with a cracker from the corner of the area and across the face of goal. Turton was beaten, but the shot struck the foot of a post.
Turton came to the visitors’ rescue again when collecting a fierce strike from Tim Adcock, but he was finally beaten four minutes from the break when a corner wasn’t cleared and a scramble at the back post led to Adcock stabbing the ball home for Belper’s equaliser.
The second half nearly didn’t go ahead because several of the ground’s floodlight bulbs weren’t working properly, leaving some parts of the pitch noticeably darker than others. But amid the gloom, the officials agreed to carry on and both sides had chances to win the points.
Man-of-the-match Turton made more saves, while Belper went close with a couple of shots that flew wide. Teversal’s best openings fell to Danny Fletcher, whose effort was cleared off the line, and substitute Josh Radford, who was teed up by Cockerill for a shot that ‘keeper Stuart Lindsay got down well to save.
Belper’s next league match is this coming Saturday when they entertain Stapenhill at home. The visitors currently sit 16th in the 22-team table after winning five, drawing five and losing six of their 16 games so far.
BELPER UNITED LINE-UP -- Lindsay/ Adcock, Curtis, Atwal, Rushby, Anthony, Evans (Hamilton 78), Oliver, Dunne, Dring C. (Dring A. 69), Adcock. Subs not used: Foster, Holland.