Late goals flatter Kidsgrove
By David Laughlin
Belper Town conceded twice in the last two minutes of this game at the Seddon Stadium and handed victory to Kidsgrove after leading at half time.
The Nailers preparations for their visit to Staffordshire were already upset after manager Andy Carney was forced to miss his second game running after a particular nasty stomach bug had laid him low during the week, but Nicky Darker’s (pictured) suspension together with late injury problems with Andy Rushbury and Simon Mirfin exacerbated their selection problems.
Defender Craig Laight was drafted in as an emergency midfield player and the Nailers were only able to have three players on the substitute’s bench.
Belper could have taken the lead inside the first two minutes after Ruben Wiggins-Thomas had shown good control in taking Lee Thompson’s pass in his stride but with the goal at his mercy, he somehow contrived to put his shot just wide of the post.
With 15 goals under their belts from their last three outings the Nailers’ confidence was high, although the quality of the opposition was noticeably better than they had faced in recent games.
In Matt Haddrell and Dave Walker, Kidsgrove had two of the division’s best strikers and they had height and strength all over the field, which made for a largely uncomfortable afternoon for Belper.
Luke Fedorenko hit a 6th minute free kick straight at Steve Intihar but Matt Haddrell didn’t take too long to show how dangerous he can be with a rasping effort that Ali Barcherini had to push around the upright.
Both teams were playing good football going forward and Belper broke quickly in the 17th minute with Ruben Wiggins-Thomas running with the ball before releasing it to Luke Fedorenko, and his cross was headed goal bound by Jon Froggatt.
Intihar did well to re-adjust and made a good save to keep the scores level, and Richard Adams performed a similar feat for Belper when he hooked the ball off the toes of Dave Walker as he bore down on goal in the 24th minute.
The opening goal came courtesy of Mark Barnard who had an excellent first half and he found himself in the Grove penalty area on 28 minutes, whereupon Intihar came out and took his legs from under him to concede a penalty.
Jon Froggatt converted the spot kick with ease and the Nailers appeared to be on their way to another victory.
However it didn’t take long for the hosts to claim an equaliser and it came in the 33rd minute when Dave Walker’s looping header dropped over Mark Barnard who was standing next to the post but was unable to prevent the ball going in.
Walker was only a whisker away from giving Grove the lead in the 42nd minute with a shot across the goal mouth that needed a deflection to divert it away, but the best goal of the afternoon arrived on the stroke of half time when Darryl Thomas demonstrated great skill with some clever footwork, before sending an 18 yard shot just inside the post leaving Intihar rooted to the spot.
Dave Walker forced a good save out of Barcherini early in the second period and Ricky Bridge had the ball in the Belper net soon afterwards but the referee’s assistant flagged him offside.
Seconds later Jon Froggatt surprised Grove by driving a great effort just over the cross bar but soon afterwards disaster struck the Nailers.
Ali Barcherini has been in great form recently but he won’t want to remember Grove’s second equaliser in the 61st minute when Ricky Bridge’s free kick slipped by him and bounced agonisingly over the goal line.
A tremendous long ball from Richard Adams gave the Nailers an early chance to take the lead but despite Jon Froggatt’s close control, he couldn’t get the ball past Intihar who had come out quickly to thwart the Belper striker.
Grove’s grip on the game slowly tightened and Matt Haddrell missed a great chance to grab the lead in the 72nd minute but couldn’t connect with the ball as it came to him inside the six yard.
Belper fell further and further back giving Grove more space to work in and only Barcherini kept the Nailers in it on 84 minutes with a superb stop to deny Dave Walker who had run clear on the right hand side.
Belper were the architects of their own down fall when in the 88th minute substitute Russ Peel, after doing well to get the ball off Tony Lewin presented it to Dan Smith.
With the Nailers out of position, he found Haddrell at the far post and the resulting header was bundled over the line by David Walker.
Grove grabbed a fourth goal in added on time after Barcherini came out to claim the ball but could only help it on to Ricky Bridge who immediately drilled it into the back of the net.
It was a very enjoyable game but sadly the wrong result for the Nailers who were disappointed not to continue their recent impressive run.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Intihar, Smith, Dove, Ward, Harper, Charlton, Urwin, Sanders (Hall 85), Walker, Haddrell, Bridge. Other Subs: Morris, Shotton, Schwarz, Matranga.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Barnard, Laight, Adams, Plant, Wiggins-Thomas (Wood 85), Thompson, Froggatt, Thomas, Fedorenko (Peel 57). Other sub: Simmons.
Referee: Graham Law (Leicester)