U21s kick off new season with a win
U21s come from behind to beat Clipstone
The U21s faced Clipstone, a new side to the league, in their first fixture of the 2017/18 League campaign. The squad has a number of new faces but the starting line up kept faith with players from last seasons campaign.
Belper started brightly, displaying their brand of attractive, passing football. As the half progressed they had the overwhelming majority of possession but created fewer direct chances than they would have liked as a disciplined Clipstone defended deep. There was always the danger of a breakaway goal and Clipstone took the lead when a ball over the top wasn't cleared and a penalty was given away as the Clipstone striker went through on goal. Keeper Rathbone was unlucky, saving the initial penalty but the rebound was converted. The goal didn't change the pattern of the game with Belper resuming possession inside the Clipstone half and the half time team talk looked very different when Belper equalised. Dylan Garnett attacked the near post from a corner to lash the ball past the Clipstone keeper.
If anything, Belper had even more possession in the second half and looked more purposeful with it as Constable and Knowles linked with front three Garnett, Taylor and Bullock. Barnes was also in excellent form providing cover for the two midfielders to go forward. Clipstone looked to be tiring as the amount of chasing they'd done in the First Half started to tell. Chances appeared although Belper couldn't convert until Jorge Knowles put away a rebound as the Clipstone keeper failed to hold a shot from Garnett. The game was made safe when Knowles grabbed his second, again from a parried shot. Belper could have had more with the Clipstone keeper making an excellent save from a Kye Wood free kick.
It was a good start to the season for the U21s who played some excellent football but also some things to work on as the season progresses.
Squad; Rathbone, Parker, Broughton, Brumby, Gandola, Barnes, Knowles, Constable, Taylor, Garnett (D), Bullock. Subs. O'Keefe, Wood, Taggert, New, Watts.