Nailers suffer their first defeat of the campaign

Mark Dudley, Belper Town'Photo by Tim Harrison
Mark Dudley, Belper Town'Photo by Tim Harrison

Belper Town were left scratching their heads following a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Grantham Town on Saturday.

Manager Peter Duffield was able to call on Dan White after recovering from injury and there was a debut for defender Mark Dudley, following his move to Belper Town from Rainworth Miners Welfare.

The game began with a moment of excitement by the Nailers standout player Rob Stevenson, who picked the ball up in a central position in space and began running at the Grantham backline.

However, Stevenson’s shot on his right foot was dragged wide and did not trouble keeper Turner.

Both sides found it difficult to get into a rhythm, with passes going astray and referee Dexter failing to allow to the game flow.

The next opportunity came after 20 minutes when a corner from the left-hand side by Ian Ross was attacked at the near post by Dan White, finding its way to Regan Edridge at the far post, who failed to get the required contact to steer the ball goalwards.

Two minutes later, the Nailers had another corner, this time from the right. Again it was Ian Ross who delivered the ball, and Jon Froggatt rose unmarked at the back post to loop his header a yard over the bar.

The home side then earned their first chance after 28 minutes when a corner from the right was cut out by Ian Ross at the near post. However, Ross failed to clear his lines and the ball fell kindly for Ben Fairclough two yards out at the far post, and Fairclough got a toe-end to the ball, only for Martin to plunge himself to his right and push the ball away to safety.

Then, Grantham scored the only goal of the game after 37 minutes, against the run of play. The Nailers had a spell of possession in the final third with the ball breaking down on the edge of the box, to be cleared away by the defender. The ball then fell to Fairclough on the right, who produced the game’s only moment of quality with a diagonal through ball to the right into the path of Michael Towey.

Towey then drove past Edridge into the box and opened his body up to curl the ball round Martin, despite the keeper getting a fingertip to the ball.

Froggatt failed to finish off a decent move for the Nailers down the right after Aaron Cole’s cross was flicked on by Garnett for Froggatt, whose chip proved too weak. Further chances came for Stevenson, who wasn’t able to take advantage of good positions, and an opportunity for Steve Warne came on the edge of the box following a half-cleared corner, only for Warne to hit his half-volley a yard over the bar.

The Nailers’ best chance came on the 79th minute for Jon Froggatt inside the box to the left. A free kick by Ross from deep found its way to Froggatt, who took a neat touch and attempted to place his shot into the far corner, with the ball falling inches wide of the post.