Belper Ladies Hockey Club virtually assured promotion to the Investec Womens Hockey League Conference North with a 2-1 win over Harborne.
The result of this Midlands Premier League match between top of the table Belper and third placed Harborne would go a long way to deciding which of these teams would be promoted because the second XIs of other rivals, University of Birmingham and Beeston could not be promoted, because their first XIs are already in the league.
In a tense match it was the home side that created the better chances, with Charlotte Hobbs going close and the Harborne goalkeeper making a series of fine stopsas the first half ended goal-less.
With the first attack of the second half Harborne took the lead when an innocuous looking shot found its way into the net.
It seemed it would not be Belper’s day as shots from Charlotte Hobbs and Kyla Madsen whistled past the wrong side of the post and then Sally Goodman was denied by the goalkeeper in a one on one situation.
But, with just 12 minutes remaining, Belper got the equaliser as Sally Goodman instinctively flicking a cross from the right
high into the net.
The game could have gone either way and Belper keeper Monica Jones had to make a magnificent right handed save to prevent Harborne regaining the lead.
And, with four minutes remaining, Belper were awarded a penalty corner which was scored by Louisa Boddy.
There was an agonising few seconds as the Harborne defenders appealed about the height the ball had entered the net.
But the umpire ruled that the height of the shot was legal and the height that it had entered the net was due to a deflection from a Harborne defender.
Belper saw out the game without further concern and that vital 2-1 win means that they are now eight points clear of Harborne with both sides having just four more matches to play.
Although promotion is all but assured coach Tom Sherratt would like his side to be promoted as champions and will be looking to maintain their position when they visit Leicester II next Saturday.