Belper Town 1 lancaster City 3
By David Laughlin
Belper Town’s hopes of retaining the President’s Cup were dashed as a stronger more organised Lancaster City side made it a tough evening for the Nailers when the two teams met in the final at Witton Albion’s Wincham Park.
Manager Andy Carney opted to leave Luke Fedorenko and Ruben Wiggins-Thomas on the bench to accommodate the return of Richard Adams and Nicky Darker, while Charlie Weir came in at left back in place of Liam Davis, who was cup-tied.
It was a tentative start to the game with neither side settling well but the omens were there when Lancaster marksman Dave Swarbrick had the first effort on goal in the 4th minute, albeit a tame affair.
The ball spent far too long in the air and good football was at a premium in the first 20 minutes or so, and from Belper’s perspective they looked a long way short of the potency they had shown in their previous game against Market Drayton.
In fact the closest they came to anything resembling a shot was when Matty Thorpe got to the bye-line and put a cross wide of the near post on 18 minutes.
While the Nailers were pushing forward trying to find a gap in the tight knit Lancaster defence, a long clearance found Dave Swarbrick, seemingly safe enough at least 30 yards away from goal on 33 minutes.
Somehow he eluded two defenders before guiding his shot over Ali Barcherini who was standing well out of his goal and the ball sailed over him and just inside the far post.
Swarbrick turned provider in the 39th minute when he put Danny Hattersley in a great position to put over a dangerous cross, but the Lancaster winger wasted the opportunity.
It had been a poor half for the Nailers who had showed up very little, and although Lancaster hadn’t fared a great deal better; they were just about worth their half time lead.
Matt Plant gave the Nailers some hope when he sent a header goal bound in the 48th minute, but it was to be another 45 minutes of toil for the Nailers who just couldn’t raise their game enough to seriously worry Lancaster.
Ali Barcherini (pictured) kept the Nailers it the game on 55 minutes when he got down brilliantly to save from Max Rothwell, but Belper’s relief was short lived as within 60 seconds Dave Swarbrick had scored his second of the evening after Mike Rushton found him unmarked with a cross to the far post.
Luke Fedorenko and Ruben Wiggins-Thomas immediately came into the fray and at last the Nailers started to look more dangerous now they had an outlet on both flanks.
However as the Nailers pushed forward they became more and more exposed on the break and in the 74th minute the inevitable happened when the ball was swiftly moved up to Dave Swarbrick, who skilfully made space for himself before drilling the ball home from 12 yards and claimed a well-taken hat trick.
There was no way back for the Nailers after this and despite looking more dangerous it was still hard to recall a direct shot on goal all evening.
However there was a consolation goal forthcoming in the 88th minute when Jon Froggatt was pushed inside the penalty area, and it was Froggatt himself who stepped up to convert the spot kick.
This was of course far too late to change the course of the game, and given that the Nailers had produced some of their best performances in this competition, they can have no complaints about the final and its disappointing outcome.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Thompson, Weir (Barnard 45), Darker (Wiggins-Thomas 84), Plant, Adams, Thorpe, Smith, Froggatt, Thomas, Simmons (Fedorenko 56). Unused subs: Rushbury, Carney.
Lancaster City: Fearon, Henry (Rogerson 84), Nightingale, Duggan, Marshall, Kenyon (Hall 73), Rushton, Rothwell, McKenna, Swarbrick, Hattersley (Johnson 75). Unused subs: Wilson R, Wilson S.
Referee: Gary Stott (Middleton).