Nailers humiliated again
By David Laughlin
After defeating Belper after a replay in last season’s Preliminary Round, Holbrook Sports heaped further embarrassment on the Nailers by cruising to a 3-1 victory at Christchurch Meadow in this year’s competition.
It’s hard to recall a more embarrassing exit from the FA Cup in Belper’s recent history, however the visitors fully deserved their victory and could have won by a greater margin.
The Nailers re-instated Luke Fedorenko for this FA Cup Preliminary Round encounter with Holbrook Sports while on the bench were new signings Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and Harry Lord who had signed for the club this week.
The visitors had former Belper players Shaun Roulston, Ant Tansley, Neil Broadhurst and Rob Harrison in their line up to add extra interest to the tie that went Holbrook’s way at the same stage of the competition last year.
Jon Froggatt had a speculative effort go straight to Simon Lillee in the first minute, however the Nailers were relieved to see David Moon’s effort ruled out in the 7th after he had been spotted pushing Richard Adams prior to putting the ball in the net.
Ant Tansley had space for an attempt on goal on 12 minutes but he drilled his shot wide of the target, although it was Belper who were enjoying the lion’s share of possession in these early stages.
Simon Harrison took the ball forward in the 20th minute before firing his shot wide and the game was still waiting for its first shot on target and was distinctly low key for an FA Cup tie.
Ant Tansley did register a first direct shot two minutes later although it was a routine save for Ali Barcherini, and moments later the Brookies’ midfielder fired in another effort that flew over the bar.
Andy Rushbury linked up well with Nathan Benger in the 27th minute but couldn’t keep his shot down, however Benger made Lillee work seconds later with a well struck ground shot that the Holbrook ‘keeper saved comfortably.
Rob Harrison’s thoughtful free kick nearly slipped through to a teammate in the 36th minute as the visitors continued to frustrate the Nailers and their supporters.
Belper defended a 41st minute free kick after Ryan Booker’s foul on Mark Finlay, and the ball was swiftly moved up to Luke Fedorenko who turned Paul Campbell before blasting his shot high over the bar.
Nathan Benger managed to get the ball in the net on the stroke of half time but the referee disallowed his effort because of offside.
However the visitors stunned the home side seconds before the half time whistle by taking the lead when David Moon rose unchallenged to nod in Neil Broadhurst’s cross from the right, and the Nailers were left with it all to do in the second half.
Holbrook nearly doubled their advantage straight from the restart and it was thanks to Ali Barcherini whose diving save from Mark Finlay’s shot prevented further embarrassment for the Nailers.
But disaster was just around the corner when David Moon slipped through a lethargic Nailers’ defence to fire the ball past Barcherini and put the Brookies in control of the tie.
Luke Fedorenko had time to place his shot in the 55th minute but sent it disappointingly wide, then Belper’s afternoon worsened when Moon latched onto a huge clearance from Simon Lillee, and completed his hat trick with an accomplished finish.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas hit a shot just past the far post as Belper tried to get back into it, but Holbrook missed a great chance for a fourth when Moon lobbed Barcherini, and also the bar when clean through.
A dispirited Belper nearly conceded again on 63 minutes as Moon beat the offside trap but he found the angle too tight and Barcherini was able to save with his legs.
Moon terrorised the Nailers defence once more in the 68th minute and was allowed space to hit a vicious shot that shaved the crossbar, then Mark Finlay let fly from 25 yards and Barcherini held the ball well.
There was some relief for Belper when Justin Jenkins (pictured)turned in a good cross from Harry Lord in the 71st minute and could the Nailers now find the drive and determination to get level?
But all credit to Holbrook they stifled any hope that the goal had given the hosts and battled hard to preserve their two goal margin, and might have extended their lead in the final minute of added on time when Moon’s flick just cleared the cross bar.
This result has to be one of the low points in the history of the FA Cup for Belper, but an exuberant Holbrook team fully deserved their win on the day and progress into the next round.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Booker, Thompson, Mirfin, Adams, Plant, Fedorenko, Harrison (Jenkins 71), Froggatt, Benger (Lord 51), Ruushbury (Wiggins-Thomas 51). Other subs: Wood, Peel, Barnard
Holbrook Sports: Lillee, Whitehead, Thorp, Campbell, Roulston, Tansley, Harrison, Broadhurst, Moon, Finlay (Hallsworth 76), Mitchell (Carson 89). Other subs: Cole, King, Gibson, Dawson, Whittingham
Referee: Eddie Smart (Rowley Regis)