Play-off places a distinct possibility

BELPER Town struck gold twice in a week with two different performances yielding maximum points.

The midweek visit to Hucknall looked a little daunting to say the least but the Nailers had a score to settle following their 5-1 home thrashing dealt out by the Yellows at the end of October.

Jon Froggatt, who is on fire at the moment, got Belper off to a great start by hitting two goals inside the first 20 minutes, and a stunned Hucknall outfit never really recovered all evening.

Andy Rushbury hit the bar with a header in the final moments of the first half, and really the Nailers could have been home and dry at that stage.

By the time Ashley Longstaff had sealed a fine win with a goal right at the death Hucknall had exhausted all their options, and even with two dangerous wingers Belper defended competently throughout.

Although virtually untroubled, particularly in the first half at Watnall Road, Aaron Chapman was much busier at Christchurch Meadow last Saturday when Lincoln United came to town.

This was a much trickier outing for the Nailers who were well aware of the Whites’ capabilities away from their Ashby Avenue stadium where they have had a nightmarish record this season having won just once in the league.

But on their travels they have been much more impressive, and gave Belper some anxious moments with their slick passing especially in the final third of the pitch.

Chapman pulled off three or four important saves to prevent the visitors establishing a stranglehold on the game and Belper never allowed themselves to be bossed about for too long before fighting back and giving the White’s something to think about.

In fact there were two or three very good chances created by some excellent Belper moves and as at Watnall Road a few days previously, the final scoreline could have been much greater.

However, Lincoln belied their lowly 17th place and gave a good account of themselves, although Aaron Chapman’s contribution was crucial.

This superb run of results in the second half of the season means that the subject of a play-off place cannot be ignored even though before Christmas, being in such a position was nothing more than a pipe dream.

Even so the Nailers now sit ninth in the table just five points behind Leek Town in fifth spot and with games in hand over some of the other contenders.

With New Mills to play twice, and games against Sheffield and Leek, a place in the play-offs is perfectly achievable if they can keep up this run of results, however, Monday night’s game against the Millers at Church Lane will serve as a good guide as to Belper’s chances.

A win there and at Coalville next Saturday will set things up very nicely indeed for the final two fixtures of the season against Leek Town and New Mills, both to be played at Christchurch Meadow.

In between times is the not so small matter of a trip to Sheffield FC on Easter Monday; coming after Easter Saturday’s home game against Romulus, and then the Nailers will have to drastically improve their record at Shepshed Dynamo who have now sunk to the bottom of the table.

The last few weeks of this season will definitely be interesting and certainly much more so than it ever looked likely to be at the turn of the year.

There will be a bus for supporters travelling to Coalville next Saturday which will leave the triangle at 11.45am.