Skipper happy to see late penalty go in Belper’s favour

ction from Belper Town's 1-0 victory at Leek that dented the hosts play-off hopes, thanks to a late Jonathan Williams penalty. PHOTO: Tim Harrison
ction from Belper Town's 1-0 victory at Leek that dented the hosts play-off hopes, thanks to a late Jonathan Williams penalty. PHOTO: Tim Harrison

Belper Town captain Eric Graves was delighted to be on the right end of late drama as Jonathan Williams’ 85th minute penalty won the game.

Five days earlier Graves had been outspoken as the Nailers lost 3-2 to Bedford United after a linesman controversially ruled that the ball had crossed the line for a late winner.

He said in midweek the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South was getting the dregs of refereeing and that Belper had been cheated out of a point by a wrong decision.

But after the 1-0 win at play-off chasing Leek, Graves was pleased the match officials made the late epnalty award after a delay.

He said: “It was a definite penalty. The referee gave a foul straight away, but he thought it was outside the box.

“So I gave a shout to the linesman and he mouthed to me straight away that it was in the box.

“I said to the referee that he needed to have a word with the linesman and the right decision was made in the end.

“Fortunately the linesman had a better view — and Johhno (Jonathan Williams) doesn’t really miss (from penalties).

“We are elated after that and to get three points in the end.

“After the disappointment of (the previous) Tuesday, conceding two in the last five minutes, today we have gone and nicked it.”

Belper defended well in the first half at Leek and then began to exert pressure of their own in the second period as they took control.

Graves said: “It was a big result against a good team.

“I have been coming here for years and only ever got one (positive) result. It is a hard place to come.

“It was good to get a clean sheet and to have got back to being hard to beat.”

After taking four points over the season off one of the sides battling for promotion, Graves said the result showed the Nailers could mix it with the better teams in the division.

“We have always known that we had it, but it is just about being consistent and we havn’t been this year unfortunately,” he said.

“There have not been many goals between us and Leek this season (the match at Belper in October was goalless), but we are getting the results against them.

“They are still a good team and will be up there and finish there or thereabouts in the play-offs.

“We just need to concentrate on ourselves.

“We have got a few hard games coming up.

“On Saturday we play Spalding, which is a tough game.

“We owe them one as they beat us at home.”

Graves was full of praise for left back Haydn Goddard, who starred in an unfamilatr left back role for the Nailers at Leek.

“The lads all worked their socks off, but I thought Haydn (Goddard) was brilliant at left back,” said Graves.

“It was the first time he has played there for us and he was kind of thrown in at the deep end, especially against a couple of good wingers that Leek have.

“He stood up to the test brilliantly and obviously he showed that he could play the ball as well, getting a lot of our attacks going.”

The victory means Belper remain in mid-table.