Nailers secure place in play-offs with latest win

Jon Froggatt (Belper Town)'Photo by Tim Harrison
Jon Froggatt (Belper Town)'Photo by Tim Harrison

Belper Town sealed their place in the end of season playoffs with a thoroughly professional display at Coles Lane.

It was also the first time the Nailers had won on the ‘plastic’ pitch in six attempts, including games against Sutton Coldfield Town, who are the hosts of the Roms in a ground sharing arrangement.

Belper manager Peter Duffield left out Andy Rushbury and brought Greg Wright in at left back with Shaun Roulston coming in on the opposite flank.

Romulus had gone seven games without defeat, hauling themselves away from any relegation worries.

The Roms were also mindful of a 9-0 thrashing dealt out by the Nailers in mid-November and no doubt fancied their chances of upsetting a Belper side who have steamrollered almost everyone in recent months.

When the Nailers start with high tempo, then there is usually a happy outcome and this game was a classic example with a phenomenally high work rate from the players.

Simon Harrison’s far post free kick in the seventh minute nearly produced a goal when Eric Graves ghosted in and put the ball the wrong side of the post.

Shaun Tuton worked the ball well for Eric Graves to shoot just wide in the 15th minute, and Glyn Cotton’s excellent turn and cross was only inches away from the head of Simon Harrison soon after.

The Roms’ Ashley Jackson had two good runs down the left, both resulting in low cross shots that the Nailers had to be alert to defend. However, in the 28th minute, Belper demonstrated the classic break away goal.

Shaun Tuton provided the assist after being sent away with a ball down the touchline and he picked out his striking partner Jon Froggatt, who needed two attempts at forcing the ball over the line after Matthew Coton blocked the first one.

Greg Wright hooked a tantalising cross into the six yard area where Simon Harrison was on hand to head the ball just over the bar, and although the Nailers continued to dominate until the break, Aaron Chapman had to produce a piece of brilliance to save a Marcus Brown shot.

Belper’s second goal came in the 56th minute and showed everything that is good about this Nailers side, who are playing with supreme confidence.

Simon Harrison put Jon Froggatt in possession and he took the ball to the line before knocking the ball short to Shaun Tuton. He turned and squared the ball to Cotton who made sure with a low shot.

They made it 3-0 on 76 minutes whenFroggatt turned provider for Tuton to slide the ball over the line.

Victory against Leek next Saturday will seal third place for the Nailers and guarantee a home fixture against the fourth-placed team.

Romulus: Coton, Evans, Ravenhill (Wynter 77), Robinson, Francis, Turton, Jackson (Diaby 80), O’Callaghan, Keen, Brown, Amory (Clarke 71). Unused subs: Smith, Exall.

Belper Town: Chapman, Roulston, Wright, Cotton, White (Rushbury 80), Adams, Harrison (Thomas 84), Warne, Froggatt, Tuton (Ward 84), Graves. Unused subs: Adam, Ratcliffe.

Referee: Grant Taylor (Stratford upon Avon)

Att: 127