Staveley Miners Welfare 1 Belper Town 3
Belper Town travelled to Staveley Miners Welfare’s impressive Inkersall Road ground for their latest pre-season friendly, writes Ian Featherby.
Manager Peter Duffield took a squad of 19, although James Lindley, Shaun Roulston, Chris Jones and Jamie Jackson were all unavailable.
New father Aaron Pride warmed up with the squad but is still not yet ready for a return to competitive action.
The game got off to a dramatic start with Staveley opening the scoring in the first minute. A left wing corner found former Nailer Ashley Foyle completely unmarked eight yards out and his powerful header found the top corner of the net.
The Nailers were clearly rattled by this and struggled to get to grips with Staveley’s high tempo start.
Slowly, the Nailers battled their way back into the game and started to create chances of their own, with first Jon Froggatt striking the post after a lovely pass from Mark Ward and then Colin Marrison forcing a full stretch save from another former Belper ‘keeper, Danny Tollerfield, following a shot from the edge of the area.
Staveley were proving to be a constant treat and Lewis Jackson went close following Rocky White’s run and pass.
Twice, Jon Froggatt came close to levelling the scores when he shot wide when well placed and then he failed to convert Chris Adam’s cross.
The final chance of the first half saw Staveley’s skipper and ex-Nailer Jamie Smith clear off the line from a Colin Marrison header.
The second half began in the same vein as the first with this time Belper scoring within 60 seconds of the restart.
A free kick wide on the right was floated over by Simon Harrison and seemed to be sailing over the bar but it dipped at the last moment, cannoning onto the far post and then via the unfortunate Tollerfield’s back it dribbled into the net giving the Nailers an equaliser.
Five minutes later, the Nailers took the lead when Mark Ward’s ball across the box was swept in from ten yards by Sam Duncum.
Belper added to their lead on 65 minutes when the impressive Duncum beat two defenders and his pinpoint cross was finished by Froggatt.
By this stage, Belper were in total control with Staveley reduced to long range efforts which failed to trouble David Ratcliffe whilst they created a number of chances themselves with substitutes Ashley Longstaff and Shaun Tuton both going close before the final whistle.
The game proved to be a good workout against a decent Staveley side and, as the season draws closer, the strength of the squad will certainly cause manager Peter Duffield a few selection headaches.
Belper Town now move onto three home fixtures starting with the visit of Ilkeston tomorrow (Saturday 3pm) followed by games against a Sheffield United XI on Tuesday, August 6 (7.30pm) before Stocksbridge Park Steels visit Christchurch Meadow on August 10 (3pm).
Admission is £5 for adults and £3 concessions to all these games.