Belper Town recorded a vital away victory at Chasetown on Saturday thanks to a second half Jon Froggatt penalty and a gritty performance at the Scholars.
The Nailers had to dig deep at times as a lively Chasetown side tested their resolve, particularly in the second half, but Peter Duffield’s men were resilient when it mattered most.
Three points was the priority for Belper, who had fallen behind the pacesetters after drawing their last two league fixtures.
However this wasn’t going to be a glittering display from the Nailers, who only played in fits and starts against a well-organised Chasetown side.
The Nailers were denied an early goal in the sixth minute after Chris Jones powered his way into the Chasetown penalty area, and when the ball fell to Jon Froggatt, he was given marginally offside a split second before blasting the ball into the back of the net.
Scholars’ danger man Nick Wellecombe showed his prowess with a thunderous effort that thumped against the bar in the 14th minute, but Belper responded with good passing movement in the 18th minute when Glyn Cotton and Shaun Tuton combined to give Sam Duncum a sight of goal but he couldn’t get his shot away.
There was a better opportunity for Chris Jones two minutes later after Jon Froggatt hooked on a Duncum pass into the path of the full back and with a clear shot on goal and hit a low shot just past the far post.
The hard working Shaun Tuton grafted all afternoon without much reward and his pace was a constant threat to the Scholars, and in the 22nd minute he appeared to be unfairly impeded when he was on his way through but nothing was given.
It was end to end though up until the half time break but the goalless score line was a fair reflection.
An underhit Glyn Cotton free kick nearly gave Chasetown the chance to take the lead in the 50th minute but the Scholars contrived to mess up the opportunity, and soon afterwards they broke away again. This time Lee Butler found Nick Wellecombe unmarked, and it took a fine save from Lowe to deny the striker.
For the next ten minutes or so it was Chasetown who dominated but it was another Shaun Tuton weaving run that led to the decisive goal.
Scholars’ skipper Chris Slater took Tuton’s legs from under him as he was about to shoot, the referee immediately awarded a penalty kick for the Nailers, and Slater saw red.
Jon Froggatt kept his concentration to fire beyond Ryan Price with unerring accuracy.