Nailers suffer penalty shoot-out heartbreak
The largely youthful Nailers took Basford United all the way to a 5-4 penalty shootout defeat in the Integro League Cup, writes Nathaniel Kay.
It was the away side who kicked off all the excitement, as Harry Wakefield slotted his effort past Danny Roberts on five minutes and Basford extended their lead through Aidan Austin's volley on the 13th minute.
However the visitors’ momentum was soon halted as Austin Symons saw straight red after a late challenge on Leandro Browne.
Handed a lifeline, Belper's Kyle Clarke pulled one back on the 24th minute, smashing the ball through the keepers legs.
Possession swung the way of the Nailers as they began to find a passing rhythm and the equaliser arrived after 38 minutes when the busy Leandro Browne headed in after a dangerous Josh Barr-Rostron cross.
But that wasn't the half of it.
Before anyone could get their breath back, Sam Birks slammed a great effort against the woodwork two minutes into the second half.
Advantage reverted back to Basford in the 52nd minute, as Joe Harrison's cross shot lobbed over ‘keeper Danny Roberts into the back of the Belper net.
But the advantage didn’t last long as two minutes later Referee Elliot Kaye awarded a penalty for handball against Connor Bartle and Haydn Goddard duly dispatched the spot kick.
Birks wasn't going to be denied again, weaving through defenders and striking on his left through the keeper’s fingers on 63 minutes to give Belper the lead for the first time..
The goals kept coming. This time Robert Duffy headed Basford’s fourth into an open net after Roberts fumbled a long ball, clearly disadvantaged by blustery conditions.
But the home crowd were cheering again in the 74th minute as Barr-Rostron's speculative effort from range snuck in via the right hand post for the Nailers fifth.goal
Basford’s fifth and final goal felt like déjà vu as the referee pointed to the spot a second time for a handball against Will Dennis and Duffy bagged his second of the night
Both sides had given every ounce of energy and the perhaps the fairest way to decide the contest was through a penalty shootout.
And it was Basford who came out victorious in the thrilling encounter, converting all five penalties. Dylan Garnett was the unfortunate Belper player to see his effort saved.
Anthony Danylyk’s men took the team at the summit of the Evo Stik League, even though they fielded a number of younger players, all the way and showed a valiant effort.
Belper Town: Roberts, Thornberry, Hunt, Barr-Rostron, Hunt, Dennis, Goodard, Browne, Garnett, Clarke. Unused subs: Butcher, Graves, Steadman, O’Connell.
Basford United: Brown, Symons, Tomlinson, Harrison, Bartle, Tabreham, Wakefield, Cameron (Noon-Brandy 80), Duffy (Boateng 84), Austin (Graham 74). Unused subs: Johnson, Gardner.
Referee: Elliot Kaye.