Nailers come so close to first win of the season

Jon Froggatt celebrates his goal with the Belper Town fans''Photo by Tim Harrison
Jon Froggatt celebrates his goal with the Belper Town fans''Photo by Tim Harrison

Belper Town earned a third successive draw of the campaign away to FC United of Manchester on Saturday.

Last season’s play-off semi-finalists United began the side as the better team, however fell fortunate of an equaliser in the final moments of the game.

The first half saw no goals thanks to the Nailers’ goalkeeper James Martin, who made a string of excellent saves as Belper remained under persistent pressure.

A terrible deflection off a United body led to the ball falling nicely for Mike Norton, through on goal, who stretched to get the shot in, with Martin coming out well to block his attempt.

The Nailers had their first meaningful effort on 19 minutes when an Aaron Pride cross was headed well by Wells inside the box, looping over the goalkeeper. However Carnell did brilliantly to back pedal and tip it over the bar.

Further efforts for Wells and Wolfenden from either side came close, and a blistering effort from Stott was parried onto the bar by Martin, going behind for a corner.

The second half produced four goals at an even spread, with the Nailers coming close to glory with minutes remaining.

The first goal after 56 minutes when a Regan Edridge clearance hit the back of a United player and floated its way back into the box. Wolfenden stretched to steer the ball into the middle, where Mike Norton poked the ball home.

The Nailers found an brilliant reply just two minutes later, when Garnett came on to make an instant contribution, flicking the ball neatly into the path of Stevenson, who began running at the defence through the middle, before curling a brilliant pass to Jon Froggatt down the right, who placed his shot neatly into the near corner.

Perhaps surprisingly, Belper went on to take the lead after 68 minutes. With United playing casually at the back, Stevenson stole in to win the ball, steaming towards the penalty area with intent.

The number 11 then cut the ball back to Garnett, who was there to slot the ball into the empty net, scoring his first competitive goal for his hometown club.

When Garnett was played through on the 89th minute, many anticipated the game would be put to bed.

However, Garnett’s shot came off the outside of the post, affording hope to the home side.

From the goal kick, a mistake by the solid Chris Jones let Tom Greves in down the right hand of the area. Greaves remained composed, beating Edridge and slotting the ball in through the keeper’s legs.