Nailers through after thrilling encounter
By David Laughlin
BELPER Town marched into the last eight of the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Monday evening with their quality of finish in front of goal proving the difference as they avoided another potential cup banana skin.
The Nailers were without a number of key players. Richard Adams was serving a one-match suspension whilst his expected deputy, Craig Laight was working. Meanwhile, Daryll Thomas is currently in America.
Call ups for reserve team players Darren Cartwright and Cameron Martin also failed to materialise when both players declared themselves to be unavailable in late afternoon.
Despite it being a first outing since November 20 and suffering from a lack of proper training, the Nailers showed no signs of rustiness.
Indeed, they produced an impressive display against a strong New Mills side that proudly sit at the top of the Vodkat North West Counties Premier Division.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas almost gave Belper the lead inside the first two minutes. He slipped past two home defenders but saw his ten yard shot strike an upright.
Nicky Darker then hit a powerful effort seconds later but home keeper Steve Mellor saved despite not knowing too much about it.
And Mellor got lucky again as a shot from Jon Froggatt ricocheted off his leg.
Belper took a deserved lead on 21 minutes when Andy Rushbury netted a superb curling 25-yard shot into the top corner.
New Mills hit straight back though and equalised from the kick-off when Steve Moore was in the right place to steer in a loose ball from close range.
The visitors found themselves on the back foot for long spells as New Mills pieced together some lovely one-touch football and the Nailers had goalkeeper Ali Barcherini to thank for keeping them in the game as he produced a handful of fine saves.
But it was Belper who went closest when Froggatt was inches away from giving them an interval lead with a great turn and shot from the edge of the area, which was just off target.
After the break the tempo increased with Belper refusing to be dominated and they regained the lead when Froggatt headed the ball on to Chris Wood (pictured) who slid it home from six yards.
Wood got his second of the tie on 77 minutes with a far post header from a Luke Fedorenko cross and Froggatt wrapped up the win with a glancing header five minutes from time.
New Mills: Mellor, Monaghan, Innes, Swirad, Barrass (Robertson 17), Mather, Meakin, Hirst (Johnson 67), Moore, Grandison, Horrocks.
Subs not used: Podmore, Torr.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Thompson, Darker, Plant, Barnard, Wiggins-Thomas (Fedorenko 77), Rushbury, Froggatt, Simmons (Wood 58), Peel.
Subs not used: Mirfin, Carney.
Referee: Paul Thompson (Chesterfield)
Man of the Match: Nicky Darker