Nailers eliminated from the Derbyshire Senior Cup after a penalty shootout
Belper Town produced a much better display at the Proact Stadium, and gave their hosts a run for their money before going out of the competition on penalties, Writes Nigel Oldrini
PHOTO: Sam Birks battles for possession (Pic: Tim Harrison)
Whether it was the wide manicured pitch or the magnificent surroundings of the Proact Stadium it's hard to tell, but Aaron Webster's men showed the desire, passion and sense of urgency that has been noticeably absent in most of the games leading up to this quarter final.
Webster rested Kieran O'Connell and Jahvan Davidson-Miller and gave Sam Birks a lone strikers role with Callum Lloyd restored to midfield.
There was a distinct improved feel to the balance of the side and the team as a whole, delighted in the superb playing service and matched their full time opposition when it came to moving the ball on the floor.
The Nailers made a promising start before being pegged back by the exuberance of the young Chesterfield players out to impress.
The Spireites had a handful of players who could claim first team experience and it's only fair to say that they enjoyed the lion's share of the ball in the first half, although the second period was refreshingly different.
The Nailers were well organised in defence as they needed to be as Chesterfield looked dangerous going forward, however they created little in gilt edged chances all evening.
Reece Mitchell fired over in the 3rd minute, and then the impressive Diego De Girolamo spoiled a super charge down the left flank by putting his cross into the hands of Danny Roberts.
Roberts touched over a Brandon Howard shot on 11 minutes then Dylan Garnett tested Dylan Parkin from 25 yards.
De Girolamo troubled the Nailers with another good piece of skill but the ever reliable Danny Roberts punched his shot away, then Ricky German missed a good chance on 18 minutes by shooting well wide.
Arguably, the turning point came a minute later when Roberts pulled off a fantastic stop to deny Ify Ofoegbu's close range effort and after this Belper slowly began to match their more illustrious opponents.
The Spireites never ceased to be a threat though and Jamie Sharman's header on 35 minutes went wide and Roberts excelled with a save from Connor Dimaio's dipping effort and when the half time whistle came Nailers had the satisfaction of a solid performance behind them.
The second period was unexpectedly enjoyable from a Belper perspective.
They were just as good as Chesterfield on the ball and showed surprising quality and composure that must have pleased Aaron Webster watching from the touchline.
Sam Birks nearly embarrassed the 'keeper on 50 minutes when he lobbed him from 25 yards but the ball bounced just the wrong side of empty goal.
The Nailers were comfortably containing the threat of Chesterfield in attack and were beginning to cause problems themselves although nothing that could be classed as clear cut.
Danny Roberts thwarted the Spireites best second half effort from De Girolamo with a save at the foot of the post on 74 minutes, however the Nailers could have snatched victory late on when Dominic Allen connected with Kieran O'Connell's knock on and Dylan Parkin saved his side from defeat with a full stretch save.
Sadly Belper couldn't reproduce the clinical penalty taking that they did for the Long Eaton game and only Jon Guy was successful out of the four taken and the hosts went through by 3 penalties to 1.
Nevertheless a much better display from the Nailers who now need to reproduce it in their League form.
Chesterfield: Parkin, Wiseman, Howard, Hand, Sharman, Ofoegbu, Wakefield (Brownell 45), Dimaio, German (Amanchi 72), De Girolamo, Mitchell (Rawson 64), Unused subs: Marris, Render
Belper Town: Roberts, Thornberry, Goddard, Allen, Guy, Harrison, Browne, Lloyd, Birks (Davidson-Miller 85), Garnett, Cole.
Unused subs: Baldwin, Butcher, Williamson.
Referee: Danny Middleton