Nailers fail to translate pressure
Belper Town’s failure to turn possession into goals forced them to settle for a draw in this entertaining encounter in the spring sunshine.
PHOTO: Nailers' Ben Watkis challenges for the ball with Kidsgrove's Danny Smith (Pic: Tim Harrison)
Belper Town’s failure to turn possession into goals forced them to settle for a draw in this entertaining encounter in the spring sunshine at the Marston’s Stadium.
As the season entered the last month the Nailers were looking to consolidate their mid table position by getting a first win in three games against Grove who were positioned one place below the Nailers in 15th place.
Skipper Eric Graves was a surprise inclusion after stating earlier in the week that he would be missing a few games, and but otherwise the line-up remained unchanged.
The Nailers were awarded a penalty in the 6th minute when Ashley Hodgkinson tripped Alex Steadman as he wove his way past three defenders, and although Harry Pickering saved his spot kick, Steadman followed up to drill the ball home.
Moments later Rob Stevenson struck a great effort from just outside the penalty area which flew straight at the Kidsgrove ‘keeper and he held it well.
Hodgkinson nearly put through his own goal on 22 minutes when he headed a Jon Williams cross on to the top netting, then Kyle Bryant had a half chance following a corner kick but put the ball straight into the ‘keeper’s hands.
The Nailers were playing some attractive football at this stage with only a quality final ball separating them from extending their lead.
The Nailers contributed to their own down fall in the 33rd minute when a series of defensive lapses allowed Danny Smith to overlap on the right and slide the ball inside the far post.
Grove survived a goalmouth scramble in the 39th minute as the Nailers put the pressure on, but the visitors survived the onslaught.
The Nailers made a personnel change at half time with Louis Keenan replacing Kyle Bryant and they started the second half brightly by taking the game to the visitors.
Grove’s Tom Morris had a free header at the far post and put the ball well wide for a goal kick, then Louis Keenan put over three high quality corner kicks in succession but the visiting defence stood fast
Alex Steadman couldn’t find power or direction when Ben Watkis’ cross in the 63rd minute found him free at the far post, but when Kidsgrove made a rare break a few minutes later Anthony Malbon squandered a good opportunity from 15 yards.
Michael Armstrong had Pickering at full stretch with a low shot after some impressive approach play, and the Nailers should really have been in command of this game after being on top for so long.
Keenan was guilty of bringing down Joe Woolley on the edge of the penalty area on 85 minutes, and the same player’s free kick took a deflection of a Belper player for a corner.
Great defensive work from Phil Watt prevented Jordan Johnson grabbing a late winner for the visitors deep into added on time, and the Nailers had to settle for a share of the points despite dominating most of the play.
Belper Town: Haystead, Bryant (Keenan 45), Allen, Armstrong, Parker, Watt, Stevenson (Wells 60), Graves, Watkis, Williams, Steadman.. Unused subs: O’Brien, Constable and Rathbone.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Pickering, Smith, Bergin (Donnelly 88), Hodginson, Taylor, Madison, Woolley, Sherratt, Wellecombe (Johnson 70), Malbon, Morris. Unused subs: Bailey, Espley and Chapman.
Referee: Christopher Hunt (Watnall)