Below par Belper well beaten
By David Laughlin
Below par Belper Town slumped to defeat at Quorn and manager Andy Carney kept his players locked in the dressing room after this disappointing display.
Having beaten the Leicestershire side in their President’s Cup meeting at Christchurch Meadow a few days earlier a similar performance was expected in last Saturday’s league fixture at the Farley Way Stadium.
But travelling supporters were to be bitterly disappointed in their team’s showing and it’s quite possible that this was the Nailers’ worst performance in the league this season.
It was the same starting line up that began the game against Shepshed a week earlier and although they started the game with promise, Quorn striker Kris Nurse had already weighed in with two efforts before the Nailers had created their best chance of the game in the 7th minute.
Nurse had scooped a 6th minute opportunity over the bar from a corner kick and then forced Ali Barcherini (pictured) into a good save with a fiercely struck shot a minute later.
But it has been a season of wasted chances in front of goal for the Nailers and another went begging after Ruben Wiggins-Thomas did the hard work by getting the ball onto the six yard box, and Darryl Thomas held his head in his hands as his stretching effort came back off the inside of the post and was then kicked away to safety.
Failings at the striker’s end of the pitch were soon matched at the other end when in the 11th minute the Nailers wantonly relinquished possession and allowed Tom Byrne to thread his way through the defence before pulling the ball back for Kris Nurse to tuck away into the empty net.
Promise of an entertaining game soon evaporated as both teams could hardly put two passes together and for 15 minutes or so the game was devoid of activity in either penalty area.
Quorn shook the Nailers into reality when Rob Lyall crashed a header against the cross bar in the 28th minute, then Belper put together a mini spell of pressure that included a handful of corner kicks, one of which produced a great header from Matt Plant and a matching save from Matt Nurse.
A short corner in the 35th minute produced a good glancing header from Darryl Thomas off Lee Thompson’s cross and then Jon Froggatt hit a weak shot that trickled past the post on the stroke of half time, and at least there was a glimmer of hope of a Belper revival.
The first half had been sadly lacking in quality although Quorn had just about deserved their lead, but the second half offered even poorer fare.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas did all the hard work after getting around Anthony Marriott in the 50th minute but he opted to blast the ball aimlessly across the face of goal rather than producing a more constructive outcome.
He did better in the 61st minute when Jon Froggatt nudged a free kick into his path and he struck it just wide of the near post, but despite these sporadic efforts, Quorn had ambitions of killing off the game with a second goal.
Rich Lonsdale’s introduction in the 55th minute added more threat to an ailing Quorn attacking effort and his raking shot in the 70th minute was beaten away by Barcherini.
But this was a precursor to Lonsdale’s next contribution seconds later which was a delightful chipped pass over the Belper defence allowing Kris Nurse to put the final nail in Belper’s coffin by sliding the ball past the expose Barcherini.
The Belper ‘keeper saved brilliantly from Liam Turner’s effort on 77 minutes then promptly kicked the ball to Sam Wood who very nearly embarrassed Barcherini with an effort that just cleared the cross bar.
Most games this season have been littered with spurned opportunities for the Nailers but it’s hard to recall any after the 7th minute, and fortunately Tom Byrne missed his golden chance to rub more salt into Belper’s wounds by scuffing his shot wide near the end.
Quorn: Nurse M, Buckingham (Shaw 87), Marriott, Lyall, Mathews, White (Lonsdale 55), Gray, Wood S, Nurse K, Evans (Turner 61), Byrne.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride (Wood C71), Barnard, Darker, Adams, Plant, Wiggins-Thomas, Thompson, Froggatt, Thomas (Simmons 61), Fedorenko (Peel 53). Other subs. not used: Laight, Rushbury.
Referee: J A Sheffield (Walsall)