The Nailers thrill in a 2-4 victory at Alvechurch
Belper Town stunned promotion hopefuls Alvechurch with an excellent performance at Lye Meadow to give manager Aaron Webster his second victory away from the Marston's Stadium, writes Nigel Oldrini.
The signs were there at Chesterfield last Tuesday evening where they narrowly missed out on a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final slot despite a hugely improved display.
With Alex Steadman still on the injured list and Jahvan Davidson-Miller having joined Cardiff City, Sam Birks retained his place on the forward line while new signing, Cameron Steele began his Belper career on the bench.
Alvechurch play with high intensity which never let up throughout the whole game and at times the NaIlers had their work cut out just to keep them at arms length.
Danny Roberts in the Belper goal was again superb throughout and his penalty save after only 6 minutes following Haydn Goddard's trip on Josh March was crucial to the success of the afternoon.
Roberts completed a double save in effect as not only did he get to March's spot kick he also smothered the follow up shot.
Generally it was a spirited start from Belper who refused to be bullied by Alvechurch's all action style but they were pleased to see the assistant's flag raised when Josh March put the ball in the net after the Nailers had been caught on the break.
Luke Yates hit the angle for Church on 23 minutes however clear cut opportunities were rare for the hosts as the Nailers began to enjoy more possession.
Then on 28 minutes a careless ball from midfield aimed at no-one in particular it seemed fell at the feet of Leandro Browne and he took a few paces before unleashing a low drive into the corner to put the Nailers ahead.
Belper extended their lead in the 31st minute when Lee Williamson's free kick eluded everyone to rest in the far corner of the net although it might have taken a slight deflection en route.
The Nailers battled all over the pitch to match Alvechurch's response and their reward was a third goal on 41 minutes when Dominic Allen was first to a Haydn Goddard free kick and headed just inside the post. The look on Church's defenders was a picture to behold.
The talk in the hosts dressing room at half time would have included the need to get an early goal and then everything would be well.
Whereas the Nailers would be trying hard to blot out the memory of Cleethorpes when they relinquished a similar half time lead on a wet night in Grimsby.
The early goal duly came in the 52nd minute when substitute Nathan Waite scored after being set up by Josh March, and anxiety levels cranked up a level for players and visiting supporters.
Church buzzed around Belper's penalty area without much effect and the Nailers were always looking for a break away that might yield a fourth strike.
Lee Williamson's shot on 65 minutes was deflected for a corner while Church's Yusifu Ceesay forced Danny Roberts into a fine save 5 minutes later.
Leandro Browne surged forward to send a fine effort just wide from 25 yards and the Nailers were looking more and more likely to add to their lead that the hosts were in reducing it.
Lee Williamson settled it on 75 minutes after first retrieving the ball on the edge of the area he was on hand to receive Browne's return ball and score with the most subtle of finishes to give the Nailers an unassailable lead.
Jordan Nadat snatched another for Alvechurch on 78 minutes, however the Nailers were not in the mood to let this one slip away and recorded an excellent away win against very good opposition.
Alvechurch FC: Price, Ashmore, Foster, Winwood, Willets (Turton 45), Carter, Bellis, Yates (Waite 45) (Tilbury 76), Nadal, Ceesay, March. Unused subs: Parsons, Gwilliams.
Belper Town: Roberts, Thornberry, Goddard, Allen, Guy, Harrison, Bowne (Hallahan 85), Lloyd, Birks, Williamson (Cole 90), Garnett (Steele 82) Unused subs: Baldwin, O'Connell
Referee: Jack Shepherd