Belper boss Aaron Webster is still looking for his first league win after Leek Town collected all three points after winning a tight contest by the odd goal in three at the Marston’s Stadium.
Assistant manager Lee Williamson was given his home debut while Haydn Goddard and Kieran O’Connell were restored to the starting line up.
The visitors arrived at the Marston’s two places and three points better off in the league table and their side included former Belper winger Rob Stevenson.
It was a quiet start to the game with neither side making any impression until Lee Williamson struck a low shot from the edge of the penalty area that was deflected wide.
Then, the visitors began to put pressure on the Belper goal and won a couple of corners and free kicks all easily defended by the Nailers.
Dylan Garnett had a great chance in th 17th minute after a Leek defender let the ball run under his foot, but the Belper striker’s shot on the turn took a slight deflection and took the ball wide of the post.
Good work along the bye line from Kieron O’Connell won a corner from the Nailers but the Blues manage to clear the ball away – eventually. The game flowed end to end with both teams showing good skills on the ball with little end product.
John Guy made a timely interception on 39 minutes as Rob Stevenson shaped up to deliver a dangerous cross, and from the resulting corner kick, Stevenson miss-timed his volley when unchallenged.
Dan Trickett-Smith put a free kick wide of the post moments later and in the 41st minute Stevenson ran through and shot just wide. Callum Lloyd, making his home debut for the Nailers, saw his shot take a slight deflection over the bar, and as the Nailers continued their good spell, Lee Williamson’s effort on target was saved at full stretch.
The second half started in similar fashion to how the first half ended, however Kieran O’Connell appeared to have a clear shot on goal following an incisive Belper move, but his rising shot hit the side netting.
Dylan Garnett had a close range volley charged down before Danny Roberts rushed out to prevent Leek’s Rob Stevenson scoring. Jordan Johnson had just missed a glorious heading opportunity before scoring the opener on 59 minutes with a low shot that beat Danny Roberts at his near post.
Johnson thought he’d scored again on 63 minutes after running through unchallenged only to see his shot come back off the far post and run along the face of goal and go out of play.
Dan Trickett-Smith took advantage of some poor Belper defending on 67 mins to run through and steer the ball into the goal and all of a sudden the Nailers were looking distinctly second best in this contest.
Aided by some unfortunate unforced errors, the visitors stacked up a series of good chances which they failed to capitalise on. Belper brought on Alex Steadman, Jahvan Davidson-Miller and Leandro Browne to try and liven things up in attack.
Browne managed to send a teasing cross into the box on 81 minutes, and the substitutions had succeeded in injecting a sense of urgency in Belper’s play. Alex Steadman won a penalty for the Nailers in the 88th minute after being blatantly held back by Jordan Lemon and Steadman coolly slotted the spot kick past Ben Chapman.
There wasn’t enough time on the clock for the Nailers to conjure up an equalser so they ended their home programme for 2017 with a defeat.
Belper Town: Roberts, Thornberry, Goddard, Lloyd, Guy, Allen, Baldwin, Williamson (Davidson-Miller 61), O’Connell (Browne 71), Hallahan, Garnett (Steadman 61). Subs unused: Butcher, Harrison
Leek Town: Chapman, Lemon, Kearns, Grocott, Green, Lycett, Maguire, Crawford, Johnson (Grice 77), Tricket-Smith (Davies 77), Stevenson. Unused subs: Shelley, Wara, Grimshaw.
Referee: Edward Cook