Late penalty gives Nailers the points
By David Laughlin
A Jon Froggatt penalty late in the game was all that separated these two sides and the Nailers were relieved to get their first victory under their belts.
Loughborough Dynamo were also looking for their first league win having lost their first two games although they beat Shepshed in an FA Cup replay in midweek.
After scoring a late equaliser against Sheffield on Bank Holiday Aaron Pride was assured his place in the starting line up, while Russell Peel was preferred ahead of Luke Fedorenko.
Asa Ingall and Ollie Warren were both available after recovering from injury and were named as substitutes.
Like Belper, the visitors had undergone many changes in personnel over the close season.
Danny Jenno jumped well to head a 2nd minute corner kick just over the bar and in the 6th minute they could have gone ahead when Carl Adams failed to get a firm touch on Neil Morgan’s ground shot.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas also came close to opening the scoring with a swerving shot just over the bar moments later.
Justin Jenkins managed to get his head to Russell Peel’s near post in the 11th minute but couldn’t get enough power behind it to trouble James Flinders, and then he tried an effort from the edge of the penalty on 16 minutes but was well wide of the target.
Neil Morgan almost found Carl Adams with an intelligent ball into the box and Ali Barcherini had to be alert to punch it clear.
A great run from Wiggins-Thomas down the right deserved a goal as he laid the ball into the path of Jon Froggatt, but Flinders saved the Belper striker’s shot at full stretch.
It what was developing into an open game, Loughborough immediately went down field and Barcherini had to save a crisply struck effort from Morgan.
The Nailers were moving the ball around quickly and getting their tackles in early, and all that was missing was a goal to round off a good opening 30 minutes.
Good interchanging of passing between Jenkins and Froggatt in the 31st minute saw the ball with Wiggins-Thomas and he could have perhaps made better use of the opportunity.
Seconds later and Barcherini was making a near post block to prevent Luke Edwards’ effort going in and the play once again switched to the other end where Wiggins-Thomas caused more problems for Dynamo left back Reece Lester.
Another spell of pressure from the Nailers ended with Asa Ingall’s shot flying just over the cross bar and when Simon Mirfin struck another effort over on the stroke of half time, the feeling around the ground was that Belper should have been at least a goal to the good.
Andy Tiday tried to lob Barcherini at the start of the second half but the Belper ‘keeper was well placed, and then there was an anxious moment when Ash Way’s cross dropped on top of the net with Barcherini struggling.
There was another edgy moment in the 55th minute when Jake Betts appeared to have a free header from a corner kick but fortunately he completely missed the target. Then Justin Jenkins sent a header just wide in the 59th minute, although at this stage of the game the Nailers had appeared to have lost the impetus they had in first half.
In an attempt to generate some variety in attack Justin Jenkins made way for Ollie Warren with half an hour to go.
Jon Froggatt turned well in the 68th minute and sent over an in swinger that Flinders was relieved to see drop on top of the netting, and the Nailers just needed the rub of the green in front of goal as a reward for their industry.
Matt Plant’s foul on Luke Edwards gave the visitors a free kick from the edge of the area but the defensive wall did its job as Danny Jenno’s shot got no further than 10 yards.
The break the Nailers had been looking for arrived in the 85th minute when Alton Rennels caught Jon Froggatt (pictured) as he turned inside the penalty area and the Belper striker stepped up to put Belper ahead.
A second goal looked a certainty after Ollie Warren streaked away in the 87th minute but although Ruben Wiggins-Thomas stretched as far as he could, he could only divert Warren’s shot against the cross bar.
Mitch Williams put his header just wide as the game entered added on time and an anxious few minutes ensued as Loughborough pressed hard for an equaliser.
However the Nailers never looked seriously in danger of relinquishing their lead and Belper manager Andy Carney could relax for a while having secured his first league victory after taking sole charge of the team in the summer.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Barnard, Mirfin, Adams, Plant, Wiggins-Thomas, Rushbury (Ingall 13), Froggatt, Jenkins (Warren 59), Peel (Fedorenko 50). Subs.not used: Wood, Booker.
Loughborough Dynamo: Flinders, Dale-Brown (Rennels 45), Lester, Noble, Jenno, Betts, Tiday (Williams 70), Morgan, Edwards, Adams, Way. Subs. not used: Masters, Clamp, Mann-Kier.
Referee: Martin Chester (Lincoln)