Belper defy conditons to secure victory
By David Laughlin
Belper Town avenged their recent home defeat with a sparkling second half display to take maximum points from their visit to windswept Brigg.
Atrocious travelling conditions didn’t deter a hardy few Nailers supporters who battled driving rain en route only to find the Hawthorns dry if not a little breezy.
Injuries, illness and a desire to shake things up a little after an awful performance at Quorn the previous weekend saw four changes to the starting line up.
Lee Thompson was at right back with Aaron Pride dropping to the bench and Andy Rushbury started in midfield.
Russ Peel got the nod over Luke Fedorenko and Chris Wood took over from Darryl Thomas who was nursing an ankle injury.
Paris Simmons didn’t travel falling ill earlier in the week, so it was a different looking side that kicked off against a stiff angled crosswind.
It took both teams 20 minutes or so before they began to get to terms with the conditions and it was the Zebras who looked the more dangerous throughout the first half.
Ali Barcherini played a prominent role in the Nailers’ survival to half time without conceding, and made some cracking saves along the way.
Paul Grimes tested the Belper ‘keeper in the 18th and 25th minutes then came to their rescue again approaching half time when he got to a Daniel Barrett free kick and tipped the ball over the cross bar.
The Nailers could only muster two efforts in the first 45 minutes worthy of mention, and neither of them on target.
Jon Froggatt received the ball back from Russ Peel on 29 minutes but his volley didn’t reach the danger area having hit a defender en route, and Chris Wood headed an Andy Rushbury corner just wide on 38 minutes, summing up Belper efforts in a less than impressive first half.
The second period started in similar fashion, and when Matt Plant conceded a free kick on the edge of the area in the 55th minute, Barrett lined up for the shot with his lethal left foot.
Barcherini kept Belper in it once again with a fine save and it was the start of a Nailers revival.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas (pictured) had a very effective game for Belper and he set up Jon Froggatt for an attempt on goal and it was Robert Zand’s first real save he’d had to make in the game.
He was soon to be much busier though.
In the 68th minute the Nailers shocked the sparse home crown when Luke Fedorenko, recently introduced as a substitute, whipped in a curling cross that eluded everyone except Ruben Wiggins-Thomas at the far post, and he made certain from 3 yards out.
Barcherini intervened again in the 71st minute after the Nailers lost possession and the ball was crossed to Scott Hellewell, but the Belper custodian kept his nerve and held the ball on the goal line.
Belper were playing with much more freedom and stretching the Zebras at the back on a regular basis.
However their second goal came from a Luke Fedorenko free kick in the 75th and it was a superbly struck, taking full advantage of the prevailing wind and sending it over Zand’s outstretched arms and into the net.
Jon Froggatt had two great chances in two minutes to seal it for the Nailers.
The first came after a breakaway in the 77th minute when Wiggins-Thomas unselfishly squared the ball to the unmarked striker, but he couldn’t get his shot past the onrushing ‘keeper.
Then with only Zand to beat, his first effort came back to him and as he tried to place his second shot around the ‘keeper he could only hit the cross bar.
Those missed chances looked to be crucial when Alan Lamb reduced the arrears for Brigg on 83 minutes with a fiercely struck shot just inside the post.
Froggatt missed another great opportunities at the end of the 90, which signalled an anxious three minutes of added on time, but Belper held out for an important away victory.
Brigg Town: Zand, Spafford, Barrett (Spall 73), Lamb, Hellewell, Jacklin, Kirk, Chappell, Cochrane, Grimes, Buttle. Subs. not used: Raworth, Oates, West, Paczkowski.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Thompson, Barnard, Darker, Adams, Plant, Wiggins-Thomas, Rushbury, Froggatt, Wood (Pride 88), Peel (Fedorenko 64). Subs. not used: Laight, Carney.
Referee: C Ward (Sheffield)