Managerless Nailers turn on the style
A brilliant away performance made it two wins on the spin for the Nailers, as Under 21s manager Wynne Garnett took temporary charge, writes Nathaniel Kay.
PHOTO: Kieran O'Connell scoring Belper's third goal (Pic: Tim Harrison)
Max Thornberry and Josh Barr-Rostron were left out of the match day squad, wuth Garnett giving a start to Jorge Knowles at full back.
Sam Birks joined Ben Hutchinson to the bench as Kieran O’Connell and Alex Steadman came back into the side, while Dominic Allen started in central midfield after his recent suspension.
A new look Belper line up started strongly, after Will Dennis’s surging run played in Alex Steadman who pulled the ball back to Leandro Browne who could only shoot straight at Charlie Taylor.
Being on the front foot early on paid dividends for the Nailers. Kieran O’Connell turned and slipped Dylan Garnett straight through the heart of the Loughborough backline who finished expertly across the keeper on 8 minutes.
Steadman excelled as the focal point of Belper’s attacks, driving a shot at goal before his cross was just in front of the on-rushing O’Connell.
Leandro Browne, a former Loughborough player, was unplayable at times against his former side, constantly conjuring his bag of tricks.
Against the run of play, Loughborough were rewarded a penalty kick by referee Richard Watson after a late challenge in the Belper box.
Karl Demidh dispatched on 28 minutes into the bottom corner, a familiar sight to Belper faces after scoring against them for Holbrook Sports in an FA Cup fixture a few years earlier.
In recent weeks, conceding was the downfall of the Nailers, however Belper were bold and deservedly regained the lead. O’Connell’s fantastic flick into the path of Knowles was a fine one, who in turn played into the path of Alex Steadman, finishing expertly on 41 minutes.
All the attacking intent of the first half continued into the second, Garnett robbing Louis Kennan and blasted his shot at Taylor, who was able to parry the powerful effort.
Going forward always looked positive, yet it was the defensive display which was extremely effective in continually frustrating Loughborough in leaving few gaps.
Chances were created by the home side, Tolani Omotola missed from six yards in a golden opportunity before Demidh’s speculative strike was denied by clever keeping by Danny Roberts to push it out of harm’s way.
Resolute defending swiftly turned to clinical finishing. Taylor’s terrible clearance fell at the feet of Browne who supplied Kieran O’Connell, timing his run and finished perfectly, fully punishing the error in the 68th minute.
The Nailers weren’t content with just the three, breaking again with Steadman to strike the Loughborough post while Browne could only head the rebound wide.
A late surge by the home side resulted in substitute Sam Thorpe’s low cross missed by everyone in white or yellow and the resulting corner was sliced clear by the covering Dominic Allen.
It was a commanding performance by Belper and the points never looked in doubt, all credit going to Wynne Garnett in getting his tactics and personnel spot on.
Loughborough Dynamo: Taylor, Thorogood, Kennan, Sibson, Andrews, Piliero, Holmes (Thorpe 73), Riley (Smith 58), Hodgkinson, Demidh, Omotola (Smithson 67). Unused subs: Rigby, Antonio.
Belper Town: Roberts, Knowles (45 Hutchinson), Goddard, Allen, Guy, Harrison, Browne (Bullock 86), Dennis, Steadman, O’Connell, Garnett.
Referee: Richard Watson