Management duo sign off with win
Belper Town ground out a much needed 1-0 victory in Anthony Danylyk and Paul Donnelly’s final game in charge of the Nailers, writes Nathaniel Kay.
PHOTO: The Nailers packed defence holds out against another Peterborough attack (Pic: Tim Harrison)
It was not until after the final whistle that the pair who took charge this season announced they were stepping down from their managerial positions due to personal circumstances but their reign at least ended on a high.
There were four changes from lasts week’s heavy defeat at Corby Town.
Will Dennis returned to replace the suspended Dominic Allen and Max Thornberry came in for Max Hunt, whose loan spell from Matlock Town ended in midweek. Sam Birks and Dylan Garnett returned to the starting eleven, with Alex Steadman and Kieran O’Connell dropping to the bench.
The ‘six pointer’ cliché surrounded the game as 18th met 19th, after recent poor form in both camps left them both close to the foot of the table.
Peterborough penetrated first within the first five minutes. Former Spalding United striker Josh Moreman burst from his own half, shaking off challenges to cut inside and force an early save from Danny Roberts.
Belper’s reply was from Sam Birks’ individual run. Driving at his reversing full back, his floated cross reached Dylan Garnett who could only volley over.
Moreman faced Roberts again, this time finding space on the edge of the Belper box for a half volley to be denied by the ‘keeper.
In almost identical fashion, Birks again drove at Liam Marshall who dared attempt a challenge. Cutting in instead, the Nailers winger could only find the side netting with a powerful left footed effort.
A cagey initial affair was opened wide as referee Jamie O’Connor pointed to the spot, after Birks goal-bound header struck the outstretched arm of Marshall. Ben Hutchinson confidently dispatched the spot kick on 22 minutes to open his Belper account.
Goals usually lift a team into life, however after a stretch without a win it appeared difficult for the Nailers to pickup that winning momentum.
In fact, it was the away side who continued the stronger and applied the pressure once more.
Mark Jones wasted the first of a bagful of brilliant chances for Peterborough, scuffing a clear strike at goal wide.
Avelino Vieira was next, spinning John Guy onto his left only for the ball to blaze wide once more.
Moreman ended the opportunities, seeing his cross-shot miss the far post by a whisker as Belper’s slender lead hung by a thread as the first half came to a close.
Despite the barrage of pressure, the home side strung their first fluent passing move of the game as the ball ended with Josh Barr-Rostron striking his shot wide via a deflection.
Belper’s barricades were well and truly manned as the wave of Peterborough pressure began.
Not one but two dangerous crosses flashed across Roberts’ six-yard box, without a defining touch from an opposition striker.
James Hillard took his turn to test Roberts in quick succession, with his first header easily held followed by a weak left-footed drive.
All In all, the second period was limited to very few half chances as neither side had the killer instinct of a top-of-the-table outfit.
Remarkably, the hottest talking point of the match came from a refereeing substitution.
Referee, Jamie O’Connor had to pause play entirely and replace himself due to an injured calf.
The search began to find a replacement assistant referee as senior linesman Kelvin Wilson took charge.
But to everyone’s relief a qualified official watching was watching from the stands and honourably offered to act as a substitute linesman.
A lengthy stoppage actually aided Belper, giving them a breather to relieve the constant pressure and mounting tension.
Into the dying seconds, all the Nailers valiant graft was almost undone as Vieira powered a header towards goal, only for man-of-the-match Roberts to tip the ball over his bar to enable Belper to clinch on to all three precious points.
As the final whistle blew, sighs of relief rung around the Marston’s Stadium after battling through the tightest of victories.
The occasion was even more poignant as Danylyk and Connelly wished their fond farewells.
Everyone associated with the club would like to thank Anthony and Paul for their efforts and commitment to Belper, wishing them all the best for the future.
Belper Town: Roberts, Dennis (Butcher 90+12), Thornberry, Barr-Rostron, Harrison, Guy, Birks (Atkinson 54), Goddard, Hutchinson (O’Connell 76), Garnett, Browne. Unused subs: Steadman, Rathbone.
Peterborough Sports: George, Medwynter, Marshall, Sanders, Hill, Webb (Banister 76), Hillard, Lawlor, Vieira, Jones, Moreman (Robinson 76). Unused subs: McCammon, Venni.
Ref: Jamie O’Connor