Late goals bring League Cup success
Belper Town secured their passage to the fourth round of the Integro League Cup with a 2-0 victory over Gresley FC at the Silver X Stadium, writes Danny Bloomer
Late goals from Alex Peterson and top scorer Nathan Curtis ensured the Nailers ended a run of two consecutive defeats.
Manager Grant Black opted to make two changes from Saturday’s defeat to Spalding United. Lance Moyo made his debut in place of Craig Nelthorpe and Jake Sturgess replaced Piteu Crouz.
Black moved captain Peterson back into the number nine role, a position which he played regularly at the beginning of the season.
The game began in a scrappy manner with neither side able to conjure up many clear-cut chances. However just four minutes in the visitors did manage to create a half chance as striker Kane Lee worked some space on the edge of the box before chipping just over the crossbar.
Lee was in the thick of the action once again as he looked to cut in onto his right foot, but Isaac Assenso made a great block to deny his goal bound shot.
Belper fashioned their first sight of goal when Danny Gordon’s free kick went all the way through the six-yard box, but Curtis couldn’t quite get the telling touch to turn it goal-wards.
Gresley’s long throws were beginning to cause problems for the hosts and ten minutes before the break Leigh Overton made a great save to deny Lee after the Belper defence failed to clear.
Belper came the closest to opening the scoring in the first half three minutes later as George Milner saw his header cleared off the line, before heading straight at Oliver Fairbrother just moments later.
The ineffective Moyo was replaced at half time by Alfred Thompson, allowing Jake Sturgess to push into a midfield role. Black also brought Peterson back into defence, which saw Danny South move into a forward position.
The Nailers began to dominate proceedings in the second half, however they continued to struggle to create chances from open play.
Ten minutes in, an unmarked Milner glanced wide a Gordon free kick when he should have done better.
Another Gordon set piece caused problems as Fairbrother was forced to parry a corner from under his cross bar and then Curtis volleyed over the rebound.
Milner was beginning to make a big impact on the game and he fired just wide from 25 yards after a Gresley clearance fell straight to him.
The Moatman struggled to get out of their own half in the second period and Fairbrother was called into action once again to stop a South delivery from being turned into his own net by former Nailer Jake Mcintosh.
Belper finally made their pressure pay when they broke the deadlock with just eight minutes remaining. Cameron Clark’s cross found Peterson unmarked at the back post and he steered a looping header into the top corner for his sixth goal of the season in all competitions.
The hosts managed to double their advantage just two minutes later to put the tie beyond doubt, something which they had failed to do in their recent defeats to Matlock Town and Spalding.
South’s flick on found Curtis unmarked in the area who nodded into the bottom corner to continue his excellent run of goal scoring form. Curtis has found the net in five of his last six matches.
Belper managed to see out the game with ease as they secured a first clean sheet in five games.
The Nailers will look to return to winning ways in the league on Saturday as fifth place Lincoln United visit the Silver X Stadium.
Belper will be keen to avenge their 5-2 defeat from back in August, as well as attempting to keep in touch with the play off places as they enter the second half of the season.
Belper Town: Overton, Sturgess, Clark, Robson, South (Colbear 85), Assenso, Moyo (Thompson 45), Gordon, Peterson ©, Milner (Esmaeily 87), Curtis. Unused subs: Crouz.
Gresley FC: Fairbrother, Steele, H. Lansdowne, Branch ©, Mcintosh, Morgan, Smyth, Jepson, Lee (Riddell 82), Nadat, A. Lansdowne (Morris-Clarke 72). Unused subs: Harrison, Slater.
Referee: Jacob Lehane