Ruben's hat-trick caps a fine Nailers victory
By David Laughlin
Belper Town secured their third league victory in a row against a spirited Spalding United side, winning 5-0 at Christchurch Meadow.
However, despite the five goals that the Nailers scored, this was not a classic match by any means but it does demonstrate that once Belper get up a head of steam, they can look a very capable outfit.
Andy Carney made one change to the side that beat Romulus with Matt Plant returning after suspension, replacing Craig Laight who dropped to the bench.
The Nailers had the better of the possession in the first five minutes, yet it was the visitors who had the first real attempt on goal when Nathan Dixon headed narrowly over from a 6th minute Jonathan Jones’ cross.
As the game settled into a scrappy affair with neither side able to dominate, Spalding created the better of what few chances there were, however, these were mainly long distance efforts that never troubled Ali Barcherini.
Belper’s first chance on goal came in the 18th minute when Darryl Thomas chased a through ball that caught the Spalding keeper and defence in two minds. After good work by Thomas to round the keeper and supply the cross, Jon Froggatt was unable to trouble the Spalding goal from 10 yards.
In the 22nd minute, good work between Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and Lee Thompson saw the latter deliver in a telling cross, but Froggatt’s header was deflected behind for a corner.
As the game settled into a stop-start affair, Belper applied sporadic pressure with a series of Lee Thompson crosses that the home side were unable to convert, while the visitors seemed happy to absorb the pressure and attempt to catch Belper on the break via the long ball.
In the 32nd minute, Andy Rushbury capitalised on hesitancy from Arthur Lee in the Spalding defence, yet after a good run and shot, he saw his effort deflected for a corner.
As a very scrappy and disjointed game crawled towards half-time, Spalding’s Garath Pritchard directed a 35th minute header straight at Barcherini from a deep free kick, while for Belper Andy Rushbury was unable to trouble the Spalding defence from a Ruben Wiggins-Thomas cross.
The half finally sprang to life with the final kick of the first half. After a melee in the Spalding penalty area that saw Darryl Thomas’ shot blocked by the defence, Russell Peel was on hand to slide the ball through the advancing keeper’s legs from an acute angle into the far side of the goal.
Belper started the second half as they ended the first. After a lapse in concentration from the Spalding defence, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas (pictured) found himself in space and was able to place a fierce shot beneath Brassingham to double the Nailers lead.
Spalding almost pulled a goal back in the 55th minute when Arthur Lee laid the ball up to Garath Pritchard who hit a good first time shot, but one that was always curling away from the diving Barcherini’s left hand post.
A clever, but cheeky 40 yard lob from Jon Froggatt almost saw Belper add to their lead, but the ball was well wide of Brassingham’s goal, while Thompson’s 64th minute speculative shot troubled nothing but the trees behind the goal.
In the 69th minute Belper could have had a penalty after Wiggins-Thomas was seemingly brought down by Arthur Lee, but referee Duncan Carratt instead chose to let play continue. Indeed, as the game continued it was continually interrupted by niggly fouls that did little to help the flow of the game.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes, Daryll Thomas used his strength well to make room for himself in the area, but scuffed his shot; while Wiggins-Thomas broke down the right wing and supplied a good cross that a full stretch Jon Froggatt was unable to convert at the back post.
The game was sealed in the final 10 minutes, when Belper’s increasing pressure was rewarded with three goals. In 80th minute, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas hit a low shot across Brassingham to score the third and Belper’s fourth goal came four minutes later when Nicky Darker put Daryll Thomas through, who dispatched a low drive past the keeper.
The final five minutes saw the Spalding goal under relentless pressure from open play and set-piece alike, and Wiggins-Thomas was briefly denied his hat-trick by a fine fingertip save from Brassingham.
However, man-of-the-match Ruben Wiggins-Thomas was to claim his hat-trick in the 92nd minute from the spot after Brassingham had brought down Chris Wood.
A home clean sheet, some very good passages of play and five goals will be pleasing to Andy Carney; yet the most pleasing aspects to Belper Town as a whole were the three points gained against a determined Spalding side, securing their third victory in a row and a definite return to form and consistency.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Thompson, Barnard, Darker, Adams, Plant, Wiggin-Thomas, Rushbury (Simmons 83), Froggatt (Wood 87), Thomas, Peel (Fedorenko 67) Other Subs: Pride, Laight.
Spalding United: Brassingham, Miller, Lee (Earls 75), Evans, Pawson, Penny (Crawford 75), Jones, Cox (Binns 64), Pritchard, Dixon, White. Other Subs: Westwood, Overton.
Referee : Duncan Carratt (Maltby)
Match Sponsors: Belper Town Juniors FC
Man of the Match: Rubin Wiggins-Thomas
Report by Matt McCullock