Belper Town outclassed by Peterborough Sports
After winning their last two league fixtures, Belper Town suffered the embarrassment of losing heavily to basement club Peterborough Sports, Writes Nigel Oldrini.
A main contributory factor was undoubtedly the loss of their two best players during midweek when it emerged that captain and pivotal defender Jon Guy would be out of action for a lengthy period having suffered a broken jaw in the previous week's win over Corby Town. Also, Danny Roberts decision to rejoin Leek Town deprived the Nailers of an excellent goalkeeper leaving manager Aaron Webster having to recruit a replacement at short notice.
Jack Livesey, Burton Albion's 17 year old third choice 'keeper was thrust into action against an uncompromising Peterborough side and went through a baptism of fire right from the starting whistle.
The Nailers also missed the battling midfield qualities of Dominic Allen who was unavailable while Joe Hunt was drafted in after being out of the picture in recent weeks. Surprisingly, Alex Steadman who is widely regarded as being Belper's best bet to score a goal was again left on the bench and was only brought on when all was lost.
Jack Livesey started on a high note within the first minute after the Nailers were exposed defensively and he came out bravely to deny Lewis Hilliard and then Jordan McCleod in quick succession.
He could do little about the hosts first strike in the 5th minute when Oliver Medwynter jumped higher than anyone to power a header firmly into the net from a corner kick.
Perhaps the Nailers would have recovered from this early setback but unfortunately an error from the debutante 'keeper in the 8th minute presented an unmissable opportunity for Mark Jones to hit the ball high into the net, and administered a blow that an ineffectual Belper side never recovered from.
Jack Halahan had Belper's best effort in the 24th minute that Dan George grabbed at the second attempt, and while the Nailers were always in this game territorially, they created virtually nothing in the way of chances.
The Turbines might have added to their lead on 41 minutes but Dan Banister fired wide, however some good work from Leandro Browne ended with a fine cross that Jack Halahan put wide.
Belper needed something to go their way in the second half and when Dan George punched a corner kick back towards his own goal the Nailers could really have done with the ball crossing the line rather than being cleared off it.
Lee Williamson chipped the ball over the 'keeper on 60 minutes following a pass from Max Thornberry but the referee's assistant controversially flagged the 'goal' offside, then on 65 minutes the Belper assistant manager was caught up in an innocuous tangle with Dan Lawlor who had clearly upset Williamson in some way, but his reaction in pushing the player in the face earned him a red card.
The game slipped away quickly from Belper's grasp as Jack Livesey unnecessarily tripped a Peterborough player well away from goal, leaving Lewis Hilliard the task of scoring from the spot kick.
Mark Jones missed a good chance to inflict further misery on the visitors by spurning a great chance on 81 minutes, however the fourth goal arrived with a minute left of normal time when Jordan McCleod fired an angled shot past the Belper 'keeper.
Jones could have made it five in added on time but missed the target to spare the Nailers an even heavier defeat and the look on the faces of the Belper players as they trooped off the field said all there was left to say.
Peterborough Sports: George, Bannister, McCammon (Nkobi 90), Medwynter, Hill, Marshall, Webb, Lawlor, Jones (Kilford 90), Hilliard (Vieira 90), Macleod. Unused subs: Sanders, Moat.
Belper Town: Livesey, Hunt, Goddard, Halahan, Thornberry, Harrison, Browne (Cole 83), Lloyd (Steadman 69), Birks (Steele 75) , Williamson, Garnett . Unused subs: Baldwin, Atkinson.
Referee: Kenwyn Hughes