Belper made to sweat in title defence
By David Laughlin
Belper Town made it through to the next round of the President’s Cup and should have won by a greater margin, but Quorn fought back after the break which made for an edgy second half.
The Nailers started their defence of the President’s Cup with a tricky home tie against the Leicestershire club with Andy Carney only making minor changes to the starting line up, indicating that he was taking this competition seriously.
Craig Laight and Russ Peel came in for rare starts giving Matt Plant and Luke Fedorenko an opportunity to watch proceedings from the bench.
All indications were that it would be a tight game as only two points separated the sides in the league table with the Nailers holding the advantage and a game in hand.
It was a tentative start for both teams although Quorn appeared to be settling the quicker finding their men with some good passing movements.
However it was Jon Froggatt who had the game’s first attempt on goal although his 10th minute shot was deflected wide of the post.
Aaron Pride delivered the perfect pass for Ruben Wiggins-Thomas two minutes later and as Matt Nurse came out to meet him, he lobbed the ball just past the far post.
This triggered a good spell for Belper who peppered the Quorn goal with shots in the 15th minute but couldn’t find a way through.
Wiggins-Thomas had another excellent opportunity on 21 minutes when he found himself facing Matt Nurse for the second time but he snatched at his shot and the ball went wide.
Quorn came close to taking the lead on 26 minutes when Tom Byrne’s 25 yard effort had Ali Barcherini at full stretch but although he couldn’t hang on to the ball, Kris Nurse slipped as he went for the follow up.
But it was the Nailers who struck first in the 27th minute after Russ Peel blocked a clearance by Kris Matthews before going on and hitting a low shot to the far post. Matt Nurse could only parry the ball and Darryl Thomas ran in to score his first goal for the Nailers.
The Nailers added to their lead in the 33rd minute and the goal stemmed from an excellent tackle by Richard Adams and some clever trickery from Wiggins-Thomas.
He cleverly sent Jon Froggatt (pictured) away with a delicate lob behind the Quorn defence and the Belper striker finished with a searing shot high into the net from 15 yards. A superbly created goal by the Nailers.
Darryl Thomas started a good move in the 43rd minute by finding Ruben Wiggins-Thomas on the right side and showed a quick turn of pace to get the ball back again, but unfortunately he found the angle acute, and hit the side netting.
The Nailers had a great chance to seal the tie after barely a minute into the second period when Russ Peel put his header wide of the far post after Lee Thompson picked him out with a cross from the right.
Thompson should have done better when he had a clear shot in the 50th minute but although he connected well, the ball went straight to Kris Nurse in the Quorn goal.
The Nailers should have had the tie sewn up by now but let Quorn back in it on 55 minutes when Sam Wood escaped the attentions of the Belper defenders and unleashed a dipping, serving shot that beat Barcherini at his near post.
Quorn had the ball in the net soon afterwards but fortunately the effort was disallowed but the warnings signs were there.
The Nailers were indebted to Ali Barcherini in the 65th minute when he tipped over a close range header from Kris Nurse, and suddenly Belper’s one goal lead looked very slender indeed.
It was getting uncomfortable for the Nailers who were now conceding too much of the play to Quorn who had come to life in the second half.
Tactical substitutions made by Andy Carney helped stabilise things and they started to make things happen at the other end with Jon Froggatt and Luke Fedorenko going close with efforts, but the Nailers managed to run the game out to progress to the next round.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Barnard, Darker, Adams, Laight (Plant 73), Wiggins-Thomas, Thompson, Froggatt, Thomas (Simmons 66), Peel (Fedorenko 76). Subs. not used: Rushbury, Wood.
Quorn: Nurse, Shaw, Purton, Gray (Lonsdale 55), Matthews (Buckingham 63), Lyall, Marriott, Wood, Nurse, Evans, Byrne (Turner 79).
Referee: David Benton (Sheffield)
Match Sponsor: Boxall, Brown and Jones.
Man of the Match: Richard Adams