Nailers beginning to gel
By David Laughlin
Belper Town claimed their second successive victory and showed encouraging signs that Andy Carney’s new look side are beginning to gel together nicely.
Carney made one change to the side that had won at Goole at the weekend with Justin Jenkins (pictured) replacing Chris Wood up front while Kieran Debrouwer was named as substitute despite making a good impression on his debut at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds.
Glapwell, fresh from a 7-1 victory over Grantham at the weekend included former Belper players Mickey Harcourt, Steve Kennedy and Spencer Commons in their starting line up while Dean Oliver was named as a substitute.
It was a frantic start for the Nailers who saw Steve Kennedy head the ball against his own post, Matt Plant force Andy Richmond into a diving save and Lee Thompson curl a 20 yard effort just past the angle, all inside the first 90 seconds.
Then in the 6th minute Belper lost Simon Mirfin with a dislocated shoulder and Chris Wood made an early appearance as a substitute.
The Nailers had a close call in the 13th minute when Alan O’Hare tried to find the net from close in but Mark Barnard made a timely clearance off the line.
Belper nearly took the lead in the 21st minute when Chris Wood released Justin Jenkins with a well timed pass but Richmond came out well to block his shot and the rebound came off Jenkins into the side netting.
However Jenkins went one better in the 26th minute when he got up well to Lee Thompson’s lofted ball to the edge of the six yard area and the Belper striker nodded it over Richmond and into the corner of the net.
Thompson’s free kick in the 30th minute came straight back to him and he almost caught Richmond out with a sweetly struck shot with the outside of his foot that dropped just over the angle.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas made space for a shot in the 35th minute but his effort flew over the bar, then Glapwell almost punished Belper on the break in the 39th when Ian Holmes got around the back of the Belper defence but couldn’t make the best of the opportunity.
Wood nearly diverted a wayward Jon Froggatt free kick into the goal but the ball just went over the cross bar and the Nailers finished the half strongly.
The Nailers could expect the visitors to push hard for an equaliser straight from the restart.
Matt Plant slipped at the wrong moment in the 49th minute and appeared to have let in Ian Brown but the Glapwell striker lobbed the ball high over the goal, however the Nailers swept downfield and Wiggins-Thomas sped away and forced Richmond into a good save at the near post.
However the Nailers tightened their grip on the game in the 54th minute after the previously secure Richmond spilled a shot from Chris Wood and Justin Jenkins poached his second goal of the game from close in.
Chris Wood looked set to get a third on 57 minutes when he side stepped two defenders to make space for a shot but sliced the ball wide.
Almost immediately Glapwell substitute Conor Higginson struck a bending effort that hit the outside of the post as a stark reminder that the game was by no means over yet.
The Nailers had to work harder as the half progressed as Glapwell stepped up the pace and in the 76th minute Conor Higginson saw his opportunity by striking the ball from just outside the penalty area, and with the help of a slight deflection the visitors were back in the game.
Lee Thompson could have sealed for Belper after Jon Froggatt rolled the ball into his path in the 82nd minute but he blasted over from 18 yards, and then Kieran Debrouwer showed good skills to set Wiggins-Thomas on his way but with only Richmond to beat, he shot wide of the far post.
The Nailers survived a tense last few minutes to claim a deserved victory over one of this season’s fancied sides.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Barnard, Mirfin (Wood 6), Adams, Plant, Wiggins-Thomas, Thompson, Froggatt, Jenkins (Debrouwer 71), Fedorenko (Peel 81). Subs. not used: Warren, Hernandez.
Glapwell: Richmond, Harcourt, Magee, Varley, Kennedy, O’Hare, Commons (Higginson 56), Walker, Holmes, Brown (Oliver 83), Hanson. Subs. not used: Godber, Lindley.
Referee: Paul Thompson (Chesterfield)
Match Sponsors: Derbyshire Heating and Plumbing Limited
Man of the Match: Matt Plant