U21s win NMDFL League Cup
Belper Town U21s secured the NMDFL LeagueCup cup with a late strike from Sam Birks
The U21s took on AFC Mansfield in the League Cup final at Sheffield FC. It promised to be a close affair as Belper had beaten AFC Mansfield 5-3 in the league a few weeks ago.
Belper started very brightly and it was clear early on that there was a clear clash of styles with Belper looking to play the ball to feet whilst Mansfield looked to play long and optimise long throws.
Belper had the better of the opening exchanges,Constable and Butcher creating opportunities for the front three of Garnett, Birks and Bullock.
However as the half progressed the game became scrappier as Belper also began to bypass midfield.
The back four of Hunt, Broughton, Brumby and Parker, excellently shielded by Barnes dealt well with the Mansfield set pieces and keeper Rathbone was relatively untroubled. At half time, Belper probably felt that they had done enough to be ahead.
As the second half developed, Belper took a clear grip on the game as they started to move the ball quickly and accurately.
A succession of chances came and went with the Mansfield keeper in inspired form. He made a series of stunning saves, a goal was disallowed and when Bullock did beat the keeper with a great overhead kick it was cleared off the line.
As the game drew to a close, Belper were camped in the Mansfield half. Just as it began to look as though it was one of those games when the ball wouldn't go in, Sam Birks placed a shot into the bottom corner in the 87th minute.
There was no time for Mansfield to respond and Belper continued their remarkable season with a cup triumph. They will now hope to secure the league with a point from the two league games next week.
Team. Rathbone, Hunt, Broughton, Brumby, Parker, Barnes, Butcher, Constable, Bullock, Garnett D, Birks. Subs. Knowles, Barker, Ilson, Towndrow, O'Keefe