* Pre Season Fixture
Belper Town 1
Derby County XI 4
BELPER Town staged their showpiece friendly against a Derby County XI on Monday evening in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Christchu
The Nailers went into the fixture buoyed by a deserved 2-0 win at Long Eaton United thanks to goals from Jon Froggatt and Lee Morris.
The Rams included Adam Legzdins a close season signing from Burton Albion and Dean Leacock, Tomasz Cywka, Theo Robinson and Conor Doyle, all with first team experience were in the starting line up and Derby proved too strong overall for Belper.
The remainder of the Derby side included a selection of first and second year professionals and trainees.
The Nailers fielded a virtually new line up with only Richard Adams, Jamie Smith and Jon Froggatt surviving from last season’s squad.
Joaquin Ortuno had the games’ first shot on target but he wasn’t able to make a good connection with an effort from the edge of the area.
Despite a fairly even opening to the game it was the Rams who took the lead in the 7th minute when Theo Robinson out jumped everyone to float a looping header over Andy Richmond.
Aaron Cole side footed a presentable opportunity just wide on 9 minutes then with the Rams looking menacing, the same player hit a fierce shot inches wide of the near post.
Conor Doyle looked set to score from just inside the area on 15 minutes but he failed to keep his shot down and the ball fizzed over the cross bar.
The Nailers were able to stem the flow during the middle part of the half and in fact had the ball in the Derby net on 22 minutes when Lee Morris ran on to a Jon Froggatt header and clinically tucked the ball away inside the far post, but unfortunately he was deemed offside by the referee’s assistant.
Jamie Smith wasn’t too far away with a blistering drive moments later and a promising spell from the Nailers was rewarded with a quality strike from Deon Meikle in the 26th minute, who turned on the edge of the penalty area and struck a delightful shot just inside the far post.
Theo Robinson also tried a shot on the turn from the edge of the box on 30 minutes but Andy Richmond saw it safely past the post, and at this stage although the Rams were showing silky skills going forward, there wasn’t a huge difference between the teams.
The ball fell invitingly for Jamie Smith on 39 minutes but he hit a wild effort high and wide of the Derby goal, but moments later Tomasz Cywka nearly restored the Rams’ lead with a shot that deceived Andy Richmond and fortunately rebounded off the foot of the upright, Richmond saved the blushes of Tommy Hannigan on the stroke of half time as Callum Ball caught him ball watching, but the Belper ‘keeper did exceptionally will to smother the resulting shot.
But Richmond could do nothing about Derby’s second goal on the stroke of half time when Callum Ball nodded Josh Lelan’s free kick into the far corner of the net giving Richmond no chance.
There was early pressure from the Rams as the second period got underway, although
Jon Froggatt almost caught Adam Legzdins unawares with a speculative effort on 48 minutes.
However the Nailers found themselves, further behind on 53 minutes when substitute Adam Wixted ran at the Belper defence and struck a fine shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Lee Morris had a great chance to reduce the arrears on 57 minutes but allowed Legzdins to retrieve the ball far too easily, then he lobbed the ball wide shortly afterwards.
The Nailers were unlucky in the 67th minute after Lee Morris had put over a great cross from the left, and the ball fell to Ruben Wiggins-Thomas who let saw his shot brilliantly saved by Legzdins.
The Nailers continued to battle hard and kept the Rams busy in the middle of the park but they could have slipped further behind in the 76th minute when Adam Wixted appeared to put the ball wide while under pressure from Andy Richmond.
The Nailers had an equally good opportunity in the 80th minute when a Wiggins-Thomas cross was headed over by Andy Rushbury when really he should have done better with the chance.
Callum Ball wanted too much time in the 85th minute and saw his shot kicked off the line, then Ollie Graham did well to set up Ben Spargo who was inches away with his shot to the near post.
But the Rams put more distance between themselves and the Nailers on 87 minutes when Andy Dales struck low and hard into the far corner from 15 yards.
It had been a thoroughly entertaining game for a large crowd on a warm summer’s evening and the Nailers can be proud of their performance against a useful Derby County XI.
Belper Town: Richmond, Adams (Crane 56), Magee, Camm, Hannigan (Davis 76), O’Hare (Spargo 63), Smith (Rushbury 56), Meikle (Graham 82), Froggatt, Morris (Muzyczka 78) 82), Ortuno (Wiggins-Thomas 45). Unused subs: Turner
Derby County: Legzdins (Severn 70), Jones Galinski (38), Sharpe, Witham, Lelan, Leacock (Wixted 45), Cywka, Robinson (Dales 60), Ball, Doyle (Bola 60), Cole.
Referee: Rob Shoebridge (Heage)