The Nailers earn a share of the points against Bedworth United
Belper Town gained a valuable home point against promotion chasing Bedworth United after a much improved display in front of a decent crown of over 200, writes Nigel Oldrini.
PHOTO: Alex Steadman heads the ball past the Bedworth keeper to level the scoreline (Picture courtesy of Tim Harrison)
Manager Aaron Webster restored Alex Steadman to the starting line up as the Nailers faced second placed Bedworth United at the Marston's Stadium on Saturday.
The Greenbacks had suddenly been elevated to their lofty position thanks to a spate of points deductions administered for various misdemeanors against Frickley Athletic and Cleethorpes Town and they arrived at the Marston's fully expecting to build on their good fortune.
The fact that they weren't able to do this was in part due to a plucky display from Aaron Webster's men and with better luck in front of goal might well have sneaked all three points.
Recent signing, striker Anton Daniels, began his Belper career on the bench although he wasn't called upon to make his first appearance, while Lee Williamson was still serving out his suspension.
It was an uneventful opening to the game with neither side causing the other too many problems.
Belper had the first real effort on goal after 9 minutes when Dylan Garnett hit a first time volley just wide of the target.
Unfortunately a failure to clear the ball away properly presented Bedworth with an opportunity to open the scoring on 13 minutes when Luke Keen had time to turn and hit a low shot beyond Jack Livesey.
The Nailers fought back well and started to play some good football on the heavy surface and in the 29th minute, Alex Steadman ran on to a long clearance and sent a shot flashing past the far post.
A Jack Hallahan free kick 3 minutes later was brilliantly saved by Daniel Crane, and the Nailers capped a good spell on 34 minutes when Cameron Steele's cross from the right took a slight deflection to find Alex Steadman unmarked.
Steadman made no mistake with a well placed header to give the Nailers a deserved equaliser.
Alex Troke nearly restored the visitor's lead shortly before half time but put his shot narrowly wide.
Jack Livesey did brilliantly to keep out Luke Keen's close range header as the Greenbacks came out strongly after the break, but despite the visitor's having plenty of possession, it was Belper who made the best opportunities.
Dylan Garnett, complete with step overs, forced the 'keeper into a diving save on 53 minutes, then soon afterwards put a shot wide of the target.
Alex Steadman found himself unmarked in the penalty area but needed too long to get his shot away and substitute Leandro Browne was unfortunate to see his shot zip beyond the far post after a weaving run into the penalty area.
Bedworth cranked up the pressure in the final 15 minutes but the Nailers were resolute in defence.
Alex Troke headed a fine effort just wide from the edge of the area on 78 minutes, and despite the best efforts of the visitors to find a winner the Nailers remained in control despite a couple of goal mouth scrambles in the final moments.
Overall it was a competent display from Belper, and while progress may be slow, there are some signs that Aaron Webster is getting to grips with the demands of club management.
Belper Town: Livesey, Hunt, Goddard, Allen, Carlisle, Harrison, Steele, Lloyd (Browne 74), Steadman, Hallahan (Birks 84), Garnett . Unused subs: Thornberry, Cole and Daniels
Bedworth United: Crane, Pegg (Brehon 58), Rowe, Parrott, Fitzharris, Albrighton, Rowley, Blackmore (Christie 69), Keen, Troke, Blythe. Unused subs: Smith and Cartwright
Referee: Ian Jackson