Opening friendly win for the Nailers
By David Laughlin
Following a very positive supporters’ questions evening last Thursday, a handful of Belper fans had a first taste of what is to come as new manager Grant Black kicked off his season with a visit to South Normanton.
By all accounts the team that started (named below) could possibly the one that Black (pictured) favours most, and after the first 45 minutes there was a great deal to get excited about.
What is noticeable is that all the players have plenty of experience behind them and against a big physical South Normanton side, it showed particularly in the first half.
If Joel Ambalu’s first goal of the pre-season campaign has set a standard then look out for some outstanding displays from the former Torquay and North Ferriby striker.
His goal on 18 minutes was out of the top draw when it comes to ball control and finishing skills.
Ambalu received the ball in a central position just outside the penalty area, and in one silky swerve of his hips created a window on goal, and he despatched a fearsome left footer well out of reach of Shiners’ ‘keeper Curtis Hall.
Prior to this Danny Gordon wasted no time in demonstrating his potential value to the team by getting involved early on.
He sent a shot just wide on 2 minutes, hit a half volley wide from an Alex Peterson header, and reciprocated in the 11th minute with a tempting corner kick that Peterson nodded wide.
Hard working South Normanton levelled the score in the 28th minute when Joel Earps turned to hit an effort goal bound and Belper ‘keeper Max Beardmore let the ball slip under his body and into the goal.
The NaIlers restored their advantage within a minute when Ricky Paylor sent a powerful header from a corner kick firmly beyond Hall in the Shiners’ goal.
Belper prodded and probed the South Normanton defence constantly without being able to add to their score before the break, although a teasing cross from Ambalu on 35 minutes needed only a touch from one of two Belper strikers running in to score a third.
With temperatures approaching 28 degrees C, and with a myriad of substitutes from both sides throughout the second half, the quality of play, seen frequently in the first half, was less obvious in the second.
The scoreline remained unchanged although the hosts did have their fair share of the ball and made the Nailers work hard to retain possession.
Grant Black will surely have learned a little more about those players that have already served under at previous clubs, and for all the other players who are trying to make an impression, he may now be a little clearer on who he wants to keep and those that may be let go.
After this week’s games against Tamworth (Tuesday 7.45pm) and Handsworth Parramore (Friday 7.45pm) the nucleus of the squad that will take us into the new season will become clearer.
The new League season kicks off on Saturday 18th August with a visit from league newcomers Morpeth Town.
Belper Town. Max Beardmore, Darryl Lucas, Cameron Clark, Sam Colbear, Jake Sturgess, John Guy, Jake Elam, Ricky Paylor, Alex Peterson, Joel Ambalu, Danny Gordon. Substitutes: Nathan Curtis, Marcus Daley and others.