Carlton Town 0 Belper Town 1
The Belper Town bandwagon just keeps rolling on as they made it 17 games without defeat following this narrow but decisive victory over Carlton Town on Wednesday.
Dan White was preferred ahead of Shaun Roulston for this game at a bitterly cold Bill Stokeld Stadium, and Colin Marrison started ahead of Chris Adam.
The Millers had former Nailers’ striker Ruben Wiggins-Thomas in their line-up, while the Carlton pitch looked in remarkably good condition bearing in mind the weather conditions seen recently.
Eric Graves had Belper’s first direct attempt on the Carlton goal with a shot that was deflected away for a corner in the seventh minute, and the game quickly settled into a fast flowing pattern with Belper looking the stronger of the two teams.
Josh Thornton was one of the standout players for Carlton and he burst through in the 13th minute to give Belper an anxious moment although his shot sped past the far post.
Jon Froggatt went very close with a curling shot after he had executed a slick passing exchange with Eric Graves, and Dan White put a header from a Glyn Cotton free kick against the post as the Nailers’ impetus grew.
Cotton hit a tremendous shot from the edge of the area that Martin Kearney did well to push over the crossbar, then Shaun Tuton showed good control of the ball up to the point of shooting in the 34th minute but struck his effort a yard past the far post.
Josh Thornton came close to catching out Aaron Chapman in the 42nd minute with a dipping volley but the Belper custodian was equal to it.
The Nailers had been the most prominent team in the first 45 minutes although they hadn’t been able to find the back of the Millers’ net.
The opening ten minutes or so of the second period belonged to Carlton, who emerged enthusiastically but soon found that the task in front of them was indeed a tough one.
The Belper defence was strong and quick and only a slick turn and shot from Ruben Wiggins-Thomas presented Aaron Chapman with a challenge in the 53rd minute and he held on to the ball comfortably.
The Nailers soon began to force the Millers back and in the 56th minute a storming run from Glyn Cotton was unfulfilled when he failed to push the ball through to Jon Froggatt who was bearing down on goal unmarked.
Froggatt failed to capitalise minutes later when he cut inside and looked set to thread the ball just inside the far post, however a combination of Froggatt’s lack of pace with the shot, and Martin Kearney’s desperate dive denied Belper the goal they deserved.
The break through arrived in the 60th minute when Glyn Cotton delivered a searching free kick into the six-yard area where Colin Marrison ran the ball into the net despite the efforts of the Carlton defenders to prevent the ball crossing the line.
The Nailers remained in control of the game for the remaining 30 minutes and the Millers couldn’t find a way through to trouble Aaron Chapman in the Belper goal.
Simon Harrison could have sealed victory in the 80th minute when he took possession just inside the penalty area and with the all the goal to shoot at somehow struck his shot well wide.
In the final analysis, the one goal proved to be enough to send the Nailers up to third place in the league table with seven games to go.
Belper Town: Chapman, Wright, Rushbury, Cotton, White, Adams, Graves (Harrison 70), Warne, Froggatt (Ward 85), Tuton (Thomas 79), Marrison. Unused subs: Adam, Ratcliffe.
Referee: Tommy Hollidge (Lincoln)