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Promotion dream fulfilled

By David Laughlin

The Nailers have been promoted to the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League after defeating Mickleover Sports in the play-off final.

It was a wonderful occasion with glory and adulation waiting for the Nailers at the final whistle, witnessed in front of a crowd of over 1,000 at Christchurch Meadow.

The game certainly won’t be remembered as a spectacle with the only joy coming for defender Phil Watt as he stabbed the ball home from close range in the second half, which proved to be the only goal of a bitterly disappointing game.

However, the scenes of happiness and joy that followed will be ingrained in the memories of those who have waited so long for this day to come.

With the Nailers falling at the semi-final hurdle last season and at the final hurdle two years previously, it seemed destined that the Nailers were going to win promotion on this occasion.

A home defeat in the final league game of the season to newly-crowned champions Halesowen Town ensured that the Nailers travelled to Leek Town for the semi-final play-off match.

And with Mickleover Sports thrashing Coalville Town against all the odds, an unlikely play-off final between the teams that finished fourth and fifth respectively, meant that Belper Town were able play the final on their home ground.

A successful day for Belper Town was followed by messages of thanks to those involved with the achievement.

Chairman, Alan Benfield placed on record his thanks to Paul Waldron (Alan Benfield Limited) for his tremendous work throughout the season, insisting the club would not have achieved promotion had it not been for Mr. Waldron’s generosity.

And manager Peter Duffield, placed on record his thanks to all involved in the success and most importantly to the supporters.

“I’m very proud.

“I’m so proud for the people involved in Belper Town, who have never seen a day like this before, and they’ll remember this for the rest of their lives.

“The players have also made themselves legends at the club.

“I, and my staff push them so hard and demand so much of them.

“When they do it, it’s great, and when they don’t do it, we push and shove them until they do it right, and today they’ve hit new heights.

“The game itself was rubbish, especially from our perspective and Mickleover were better than us.

“But what matters is the win and that’s all that everyone will remember.

“Next season will be exciting, but we don’t want to think about that just yet, we just want to enjoy this moment as we fully deserve it over the season we’ve had.”

Duffield concluded by thanking club Chairman, Alan Benfield for the support given to him from the very start of his journey.

“For me, Alan Benfield is the one who I am mostly chuffed for.

“He has supported me throughout and he has put so much into this Football Club and he deserves the success it’s achieving, so I’d like to thank him tremendously for his work.”

Phil Watt (pictured) shared his pleasure at scoring the goal that has taken the Nailers to new heights, claiming he never even dreamed of scoring the winner in the final.

“I can’t believe it.

“To score the winner in the final is amazing given the quality of strikers out there on the pitch. It’s something I never even dreamed would happen.

“To keep a clean sheet today and in the semi-final too is equally important for the team and myself, as that is my main job on the field.

“And by doing so, all it took was a single goal to win us the final.

“I’m absolutely buzzing and I can’t wait for next year as there are some big teams there to play.”

Where next?

Celebration photos - another gallery Follow the link to Ken Allsebrook's photographic gallery of the celebrations in the play-off final against Mickleover Sports
Mickleover Sports - Post-match Interviews Post match interviews with Peter Duffield and a selection of Belper players

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