Nailers edge out Long Eaton
The Nailers secured a place in the Quarter Finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup after a faltering display against Long Eaton United, writes Nigel Oldrini.
Newly appointed team manager Aaron Webster and his assistant Lee Williamson took charge for their first game against United, who more than matched their higher league opponents.
The Nailers were clinical with their penalty kicks though and ended The Blues involvement in this year's competition, while Belper will face either Chesterfield or Heanor Town away in the next round.
Manager Aaron Webster selected a similar team for the Derbyshire Senior Cup tie that lost at Stamford with the exception of Kieran O'Connell who was named as a substitute, and Kane Baldwin came in as a replacement.
Long Eaton had three ex Belper players in their lineup, Scott Low, Ross Parker and Rackeem Reid, and The Blues, who play their football in the Midland League Premier Division were currently in occupying 16th place in their division.
The first 15 minutes were uneventful with both teams enjoying equal possession without testing either 'keeper. Leandro Browne came close in the 18th minute after wriggling past the defender and flicking the ball just wide of the far post, but there was no one on hand to get a follow up shot on target.
Max Thornberry glanced a header well wide from a corner on 25 minutes as the Nailers showed signs of coming into the game then Browne flashed an angled shot that Scott Low managed to deflect wide.
Kieron Harrison put an unchallenged header wide of the target from a 27th minute corner kick and Jon Guy hit a tame shot wide at the far post from another corner.
Long Eaton's Josh Thornton struck a wayward effort well wide on 32 minutes then Will Dennis did well for Belper by getting around his fullback only to pull the ball back straight to a Blues player. Long Eaton won a couple of corners in succession to test the Nailers' rearguard in the latter stages of the half.
Leandro Browne executed a clever turn just inside the penalty area on 40 minutes but his attempted shot with the outside of his right foot trickled disappointingly wide.
Dylan Garnett nearly created an opening for the Nailers in the 49th minute with a good overlapping run and cross into the near post, but Alex Steadman couldn't turn the ball in. Leandro Browne hit a 20 yard shot into the arms of Scott Low, and moments later Jack Duffy hit the cross bar for the visitors from close range after Danny Roberts spilled a vicious shot from Rackeem Reid.
Long Eaton weren't allowing the Nailers to stamp their authority on this tie, and in the 62nd minute Belper produced a moment of excellence when Alex Steadman floated over a perfect cross for Will Dennis to power a great header past Scott Low.
Long Eaton looked as though they would respond almost immediately when the ball fell for Rackeem Reid and his measured shot looked destined for the back of the net, however Danny Roberts' outstretched foot was enough to deflect the ball out of play.
Jack Duffy had a half chance on 78 minutes after escaping his marker but Roberts came out quickly and narrowed the angle sufficiently to block his shot. However the visitors broke away in the 80th minute and the Nailers failed to get the ball away leaving Shaun Rickford the time to pick his spot and drill the ball in from 18 yards.
Jack Duffy forced Roberts into a point blank save at the foot of the post as The Blues stepped up the pace and looked more likely a find a winner. Rackeem Reid bore down on the Belper goal and saw his effort well stopped by Roberts and the 4 minutes of added on time was clearly going to benefit the visitors more than the Nailers.
Reid had a great chance a clinch victory for Long Eaton in the final seconds but he headed high over the bar and the tie required a penalty competition to determine who went through to the next round.
Kieran O'Connell, Alex Steadman, Kieran Harrison and John Guy put their penalties away clinically, and Danny Roberts saved well to deny Long Eaton's Keenan Meakin and Akim Akinbinu.
Belper Town: Roberts, Thornberry, Goddard, Allen, Guy, Harrison, Baldwin (O'Connell 88), Dennis (Butcher 71), Sreadman, Garnett, Browne. Unused subs: Birks, Rathbone.
Long Eaton Utd: Low, Campbell, Scanlon (Meakin 80), Gamblen, Head, Parker, Akinbinu (Rickford 73), Thornton, Duffy. Smith, Reid. Unused sub: Graham
Referee: Martin Beard