'We're still in the title race,' insists Belper Town boss Grant Black

Belper Town manager Grant Black
Belper Town manager Grant Black

Belper Town are still in the BetVictor NPL South East Division title race, insists boss Grant Black.

His message came after the Nailers were pegged back late on at Kidsgrove Athletic and had to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw.

A win for table-toppers Leek Town, over this Saturday's opponents Spalding United, stretched their lead at the division's summit.

While defeats for Cleethorpes and Stamford meant Belper's point at Kidsgrove closed the gap on those teams immediately above them.

And, with games in hand and half of the season yet to be played, Black was positive about his team's chances of reining in Leek.

"I've seen people say that's our title attempt over with and it's Leek's title to lose but I don't see it like that," Black told the Belper News.

"We've got 57 points still on offer and we're still approaching every session and every game thinking we can still push Leek and Stamford all the way.

"Some people might be getting carried away with things but it's maybe a reality check for those people that we're not entitled to win every game.

"We've worked hard to get where we are.

"People might be thinking we're going to roll teams over - it's not going to happen - but we're in a strong position after Saturday and there are 57 points still available.

"If we keep going unbeaten and Leek don't drop any points then they'll have deserved to win the league and we'll applaud them.

"But I think teams will lose who are around us and hopefully we'll keep picking points up, adding up to a total that might see us over the top at the end."

Goals from Danny Gordon and Alex Peterson put the Nailers into a 2-1 lead at Kidsgrove before Anthony Malbon equalised in injury time.

"It felt like a sucker-punch at the time and it definitely took a couple of days to get over," said Black.

"They started really well and got at us but after that first 15 minutes we changed formation and for the next 75 minutes it was one-way traffic.

"We've had a couple of shots cleared off the line, their keeper has pulled off a worldie, we've scored twice on top of that too.

"To be hit with a sucker-punch like that in the sixth-minute of injury time, after they only said it would be five, is a blow but we'll learn from it.

"It was a lack of concentration, which was disappointing from my part, as a few players switched off at a vital time.

"It was a really good performance on the whole, so there are positives as much as there are negatives."

It's now eight games unbeaten for Belper in all competitions, who are at home to Spalding on Saturday.

"We go into every single game looking to win but when you look at their record, we might have taken a point beforehand.

"But the way it panned out was different, we dominated that game, and it becomes frustrating to have conceded so late on.

"It's another game unbeaten and a point off another team who are positioned well, they've not played many games either.

"It's a point gained rather than points dropped," added Black.