Two-goal Ruben sends Belper to fourth defeat

Evo-Stik NPL

First Division South

Belper Town 0

Carlton Town 2

BELPER Town fell to their fourth home defeat in succession after a lack lustre display against Carlton Town with ex Nailer Ruben Wiggins-Thomas doing the damage with a late double.

The Nailers were facing Carlton for the fourth time this season having previously lost a league fixture and winning in two cup competitions in September and October.

Ashley Longstaff was making his first home appearance for the Nailers after scoring on his debut at Goole last Tuesday evening, while Charlie Weir was also making his Christchurch Meadow return after re-signing for the Nailers a couple of weeks ago.

Andy Rushbury was available again but had to settle for a place on the bench while Damien Magee’s one match suspension meant a re-shuffle in defence, with Greg Wright moving to left back and Richard Adams being restored to the middle of the back four.

The Millers’ side included former Belper striker player Ruben Wiggins-Thomas.

Ian Brown finished poorly in the 2nd minute after an intricate move saw Carlton penetrate the 18 yard area, but the Millers’ striker’s shot curled well wide.

The Nailers created a half chance with a swift break in 12th minute and Ashley Longstaff knocked the ball into space for Colin Marrison, but he couldn’t get his shot away, and then

Belper won a free kick from approximately 25 yards out on 15 minutes and Jon Froggatt registered their first direct shot with an effort that went straight to Danny Marshall.

Belper were fortunate in the 17th minute when Ian Brown had a free header from 8 yards out but he put the ball straight into the arms of Andy Richmond.

A great chance befell Colin Marrison in the 21minute after a looping cross from Ashley Longstaff wasn’t claimed by the ‘keeper but the Belper skipper, who was still recovering from a knock on his ankle, side footed the ball the wrong side of the post.

Adam Kimberley fired just past the angle after good work from Terry Hawkridge, as Carlton looked every bit as dangerous as the Nailers when going forward.

The flow of the game faltered during the last 15 minutes of the half when misplaced passes frustrated both sides, but in the 38th minute Terry Hawkridge and Danny Fletcher combined and only a Richard Adams touch prevented Ruben Wiggins-Thomas heading the resulting cross home.

Hawkridge was the danger man again a few moments later when he set up Josh Thornton for a shot over the cross bar, and as the Millers began to press forward; Hawkridge had a go himself on 41 minutes.

The Nailers began the second half knowing that they needed to raise their game a few notches to unsettle the Carlton defence, and to also keep close tabs on play maker Terry Hawkridge.

Jon Froggatt thought he had scored in 53rd minute after the Millers conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area, but Danny Marshall blocked his low driven shot at full stretch.

Alistair Asher’s free kick went through a group of players untouched and just past the far post, leaving the neutral spectator at least, wanting a goal to liven things up.

The Nailers were a whisker away from taking the lead on 71 minutes after Ashley Longstaff’s persistence and strength on the ball earned him the chance of a shot, however his effort shaved the far post with Danny Marshall beaten.

Andy Richmond had to be alert to push Nick Hall’s snap shot away, but in the 78th minute after a period of pressure from the Millers, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas was on hand to force the ball over the line from a cross to the far post.

The Nailers introduced Jordan Turner and Scott Ellis in the last 15 minutes to try and recover the situation, but Belper were found wanting again in the 87th minute when Ruben Wiggins-Thomas latched on to a long clearance out of defence and beat Andy Richmond with a crisp first time finish.

Jon Froggatt forced a good save from the Carlton ‘keeper in the dying moments but in the final analysis, this was another disappointing defeat in front of home supporters.

Match stats

Belper Town: Richmond, Pride, Wright, Meikle (Smith 49), Adams, O’Hare (Turner J 82), Marrison (Ellis 85), Leonard, Froggatt, Longstaff, Weir. Unused subs: Rushbury, Turner T.

Carlton Town: Marshall, Darkin, Fletcher, Asher, Millns, Hall, Thornton, Hawkridge, Brown (Gill 86), Wiggins-Thomas (Grayson N 90), Kimberley (Grayson A 78). Unused subs: Goward, Kitchen.

Referee: Nigel Day (Stoke-on-Trent)

Attendance: 169

Match sponsors: Belper Town Juniors.

Man of the match: Aaron Pride.

Next in action

Saturday, December 3

Evo-Stik League First Division South - Kidsgrove Athletic v Belper Town, 3pm.

Tuesday, December 6

Evo-Stik League First Division South - Grantham Town v Belper Town, 7.45pm.