Belper Town 0 Grantham Town 2
By David Laughlin
It was an all too familiar story for the Nailers as they crashed to their ninth home league defeat of the season as the Gingerbreads extended their recent impressive record.
The Nailers welcomed back Daryll Thomas into the starting line up after missing the last two games through suspension, while Nicky Darker was absent due to holiday commitments.
Kallum Keane had recovered from a back strain and was named as a substitute, and Charlie Weir kept Andy Rushbury out of the side, and he also had to be content with a place on the bench.
Key Grantham defender Matt Millns had to sit this one out due to suspension, and the Gingerbreads who included former Nailer, Chris Glarvey, arrived at Christchurch Meadow having enjoyed a decent run of form of late.
They had lost only once in 20 games, and were ideally positioned on the fringes of the play-off zone.
It was going to be interesting see how what effect manager Andy Carney’s decision to stand down at the end of the season would have on the motivation of the players.
Belper survived an anxious moment in the 4th minute after Grantham broke away and Ben Saunders had a clear shot on goal, but Ali Barcherini got down well to block his shot and Matt Glass hit the rebound over the top.
Jon Froggatt struck an 8th minute free kick straight at Rob Murray and the early stages of this game were proving to be even in terms of possession.
Chris Glarvey hit a speculative effort from 22 yards that dipped just over the cross bar then Matt Glass tried to catch Barcherini off his line in the 21st minute and was well off target.
Charlie Weir did well to get behind the Grantham defence in the 28th minute but Chris Glarvey brought him down on the edge of the penalty area, and from the resulting free kick the visitors managed to clear the ball comfortably.
Belper’s best moment in the first period came in the 35th minute when Charlie Weir and Paris Simmons (pictured) exchanged passes and Weir went on to fire just past the far post.
Matt Thorpe almost found Ruben Wiggins-Thomas on the edge of the area but Lee Potts got a vital touch to give the Nailers a corner kick, and from it Jon Froggatt headed the ball just wide of the far post.
Grantham ended the first period with territorial advantage, but it had been a closely contested 45 minutes with very little goal mouth action and the hope was that the game would open up more in the second half.
Grantham took the lead on 48 minutes after the Gingerbreads caught the Nailers on the break and Ben Saunders crossed for Jamie McGhee to score with a venomous shot into the back of the net.
It was just what the game needed from a neutral’s perspective and served to inject a sense of urgency from the Nailers and they nearly responded with an equaliser when Charlie Weir brought a good save out of Murray with a well time header.
However in the 63rd minute the Gingerbreads went further ahead when Matt Glass collected a pass from Jamie McGhee and shot from just outside the penalty, although he didn’t connect with the ball cleanly but it was enough to send it bouncing in at the far post.
Glass came close to scoring another in the 66th minute when he got to the ball ahead of Ali Barcherini and his glancing header bounced on top of the cross bar.
The second Grantham goal took the edge of Belper’s game and if anything it was the Gingerbreads who looked the most dangerous and most likely to score the next goal.
Matt Plant got up well in the 90th minute but couldn’t find the target and although the Nailers gamely plugged away for the remainder of the game but they couldn’t find a way through a resolute back line and unfortunately they fell to yet another home league defeat.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Pride, Thompson (Davis 67), Simmons, Plant, Adams, Wiggins-Thomas, Thorpe, Froggatt, Thomas (Keane 78), Weir (Rushbury 59). Unused subs: Barnard, Carney.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Sucharewycz, Watt, Glarvey, Saunders, McGhee (Carchedi 85), Saunders (Dyson 88), Glass (Norris 73). Unused subs: Hallcro, Rhule.
Referee: Alex Harvey (Nottingham).
Match Sponsor: In memory of Arthur Sims.
Man of the Match: Aaron Pride