Nailers too strong for Steels
By David Laughlin
Belper Town rounded off their pre-season programme with a comfortable 2-0 and now they look forward to reproducing their winning form when the season starts in earnest on Saturday.
Debutant, Jordan Ball challenges for possession (Pic: Tim Harrison)
The Nailers included striker Jordan Ball, potentially a loan signing from Doncaster Rovers, for this final pre-season game against Stockbridge Park Steels.
Steels’ line up in including former Belper player Nicky Darker and from the Gary Marrow era, Alex Callery, who was named as a substitute.
It was a positive start from the Nailers who made all the running in the opening stages and carved open some half chances from good play on both flanks.
The Nailers took the lead on 20 minutes when Dan White was left unmarked at the far post and he tucked the ball away past Adam Billard with a crisp left foot shot.
Jordan Ball, who had made an impressive start to the game, forced Billard into a diving save on 27 minutes and every time the Nailers moved forward the possibility of a further goal was always there.
The Nailers extended their lead on 36 minutes when Jordan Ball latched on a through ball and it bounced up invitingly to hit an excellent shot over the advancing ‘keeper.
The Nailers went into the break having comfortably earned their 2-0 lead and coping very well with the limited attacking effort that came from the visitors.
Simon Harrison sent a low drive across the face of goal in the 50th minute as the Nailers looked to add to their advantage, and in the 53rd minute they won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area and Michael Simpkins wasn’t too far away with his shot.
Jordan Turner had a clear run on goal moments later and although he struck the ball with venom, Adam Billard blocked his effort well.
Aaron Pride conceded a penalty kick on the hour mark with a rash tackle just inside the penalty area, but Dave Ratcliffe guessed right and got down really well to save Mike Fish’s penalty kick.
Glyn Cotton couldn’t reach a Simon Harrison cross on 67 minutes after Jordan Ball had carried the ball deep into Stocksbridge territory, and moments later he was generously applauded for his efforts when he was substituted.
Belper repeatedly caught the visitors on the break and with a little more luck could have scored more goals, and Colin Marrison was a whisker away with a free kick in the 32nd minute after Greg Wright was fouled on the edge of the penalty area.
The Nailers played out the rest of the game comfortably and wrapped up their pre-season with a sixth win out from seven outings, a record that they will hope to take into the regular season starting with Coalville Town next Saturday.
Belper Town: Chapman, Pride, Wright, Cotton, White, Simpkins, Harrison, Leonard, Ward, Ball, Marrison. Subs: Turner J, Colley, Adams R, Cardwell, Rushbury, Forbes, Gowing, Ratcliffe..
Stockbridge Park Steels: Billard, Darker, Whitehouse, Swirad, Darley, Fish, Rowbottom, Stirrup, Hogan, Payne, Turner B, Subs: Bockarie, Adams L, Hunter, Ellison, Weston, Booker, Callery, Collins.
Referee: Nick Hopton (Derby)