Free-scoring striker Sam Dixon hailed “a brilliant defensive display” from his Belper side as they bounced back from their disappointing first defeat of the hockey season the previous week.
Dixon scored twice to take his seasonal tally to seven as Belper licked Leek 4-0 to leap into fourth in the Midlands Men’s league, Premier Division table, just three points behind the leaders, Harborne.
But he was full of praise for what was happening at the other end of the pitch, saying: “You can’t lose a game if you keep a clean sheet, and every player put in the leg work to make it difficult for Leek to create chances.
“We looked very dangerous going forward and got some positive outcomes from most of our attacks. Penalty corners were the kley as we converted three of the four we were awarded. Leek are a tough side, so it was very satisfying to claim all three points.”
As usual, the Nailers started on the front foot, and excellent pressing by Dixon, Scott Marsh and Tom Ryland soon caused the visiting rearguard plenty of headaches. It wasn’t long before the opening goal as good work by Dixon played in Marsh to fire home on the back stick.
Leek grew into the game and squandered several good chances on the counter-attack. But Belper held on to the break when they were urged to be more clinical in the circle. They started the second half with renewed vigour and soon doubled their lead from a penalty corner as Dixon drove low into the bottom corner.
Two-nil quickly became 3-0 when Chris Hall was on hand to bundle Dixon’s initial effort over the line and, with the game now stretched, Belper were able to exploit gaps on the break. One attack led to the Leek goalkeeper sin-binned for using his body outside the circle and, from the resulting penalty corner, Dixon struck again. This Saturday, Belper are away to third-placed Loughborough Town.