Ravens rule the roost
By David Laughlin
Belper Town came up against an organised and well drilled Coalville side and couldn’t provide enough quality on the ball to significantly affect the result , writes Nigel Oldrini.
PHOTO : Joel Ambalu tries to weave his way through the Coalville defence (Pic: Tim Harrison)
Sam Colbear was one important absentee from the starting 11 however manager Grant Black’s selection criteria is slowly defining the shape of his team that will start the Evo-Stik East Division campaign on the 18 August.
After a convincing 6-1 victory over Worsbrough Bridge and a tough 2-2 draw at Goole, the Nailers faced a testing three game run-in to close out their pre-season campaign.
Coalville, who will play in the Evo-Stik Premier Division Central Division next season were always going to give the Nailers an exacting 90 minutes, although Belper started the game positively enough.
Nathan Curtis tested Max Varnum with a fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area after 4 minutes and Joel Ambalu forced the Coalville ‘keeper into another, less than a minute later.
Coalville danger man Tolani Omotola nearly opened the scoring in the 10th minute after he narrowly beat the offside trap and looked set to get a shot on target, but Cameron Clark managed to do enough to put the striker off.
Jake Sturgess brought Omotola down just outside the penalty area but the free kick was wasted, then just after Belper’s Nathan Curtis had put a good chance wide, the visitors had three chances in 7 minutes that were either saved or put wide.
When the opener came on 36 minutes it was coolly taken by Omotola who held off the defender before turning and placing his shot into the far corner, and well out of Max Beardmore’s reach.
The visitors looked threatening in the early stages of the second half and the Nailers had plenty of defending to do.
However on 55 minutes Alex Peterson nearly found the far corner of the net with a shot on the turn, but Max Varnum was alert to the threat and saved at full stretch.
Unfortunately the visitors put paid to any hopes of a Belper fight back when Scott McManus knocked in the second goal from close range, however the usual raft of substitutions didn’t make any noticeable difference to Belper’s prospects.
Peter Cruz did offer some excitement when he came on for the final half hour and in one of Belper’s best moves in the 66th minute he fed Alex Peterson whose ball across the goal mouth found Joel Ambalu who eventually won a corner kick.
The combination worked well again on 76 minutes with Peterson this time finding the side netting, however in the intervening 10 minutes or so, Belper had to soak up increasing pressure from the visitors.
A Cruz curling free kick was well seen by Varnum on 82 minutes and his counterpart at the other end of the field was equally responsive, saving a speculative shot by pushing the ball safely on to the cross bar.
Apart from the fact that this had been an excellent workout for Grant Black’s side there may be a tinge of disappointment that the Nailers hadn’t been able to make more of an impression over the 90 minutes.
Belper Town: Max Beardmore, Darol Lucas, Cameron Clark (Esmaely 79), Rikky Paylor, Jake Sturgess, Jon Guy (Jordan Eldridge 82), Danny Gordon (Callum Lloyd 61), Marcus Day, Alex Peterson, Joel Ambalu (Anton Daniels 73), Nathan Curtis (Peter Cruz 61).
Referee: Gareth Davis