Central Midlands League
Premier Division South
Clifton FC 1
Belper United 1
BELPER travelled to Clifton to take on the ‘All Whites’ buoyed by their 4-2 win the previous week, however they were without Wadsworth, Taylor and McRobie so in came Wheeler and Matt Smith in attack and the versatile Jamie Wilde slotted into midfield.
The game got underway in extremely windy conditions which proved difficult for both teams to master and the early part of the game was very scrappy.
The first clear chance fell to the Belper winger Kelly who raced clear of the defence but the home keeper Parlatt did well to force him wide and the chance was lost.
Clifton forced a number of corners but the Belper defence dealt with the threat, Bacon in commanding form at the heart of the defence.
When Clifton did break through Wilde recovered to make an excellent last ditch tackle.
On 25 minutes Belper took the lead. Bridges crossed from the left and when the Clifton defence only partially cleared, Richard Searston controlled the ball and then hit an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area into the bottom corner.
The remainder of the half was a midfield dog-fight, with neither side able to gain control and the score remained 1-0 at half time.
The second half started with Clifton dominating and Belper had to defend in numbers, although Clifton had plenty of possession they failed to create a clear opportunity and Jablonski was untroubled in the Belper goal.
As Clifton pressed forward they started to leave themselves exposed at the back and Belper hit on the counter-attack.
On 70 minutes Wheeler’s pace took him clear of the defence and as the keeper rushed out he should have lobbed the ball over him however he hesitated and the chance was lost.
Clifton made a double substitution replacing their two strikers and this had an immediate impact.
On 80 minutes Turner played Rhodes in down the right and Jablonski made a fine double save from his shots, however, the ball came back to Rhodes, this time Postlethwaite blocked but Rhodes determination finally paid off as he forced the ball into the net for a deserved equalise.
Clifton pushed forward searching for a late winner but Belper defended resolutely and saw out the remainder of the game without further trouble.
This was a well deserved point against a good Clifton side in difficult playing conditions.
This Saturday (January 28), Belper United face another tough test when league leaders Basford visit Alton Manor.
Kick-off is 2pm.