Belper Town 2 Rainworth Miners Welfare 2
By David Laughlin
Belper Town let a comfortable half time lead slip as strugglers Rainworth Miners Welfare staged a second half fight back to wipe out a two goal deficit.
The Nailers were without the influential Nicky Darker who was missing through suspension so Matty Thorpe came straight back after missing the midweek win at Newcastle.
Liam Davis started in place of Andy Rushbury who had to leave the field early at Newcastle with a hamstring stain, while reserve midfield player Darren Cartwright was on the bench.
Rainworth have found the going tough since their promotion from the Northern Counties East and have underwent a change of manager mid-term when Billy Millar took over from Rudy Funk who had presided over their recent successes.
The Nailers nearly went behind in the first minute when Nick Langford’s shot on the turn sent Barcherini sprawling to his left and Craig Mitchell’s follow up shot got tangled up under Lee Thompson, and Barcherini retrieved the ball on the goal line.
Rainworth had started the game well and worked the ball well across the pitch before former Belper player Rob Paling over hit his cross to the far post.
Daryll Thomas had Belper’s first direct effort in the 12th minute but wasn’t able to get enough power in his header from 12 yards, then Ruben Wiggins Thomas did well to get the ball over from the by-line but despite a strong Belper presence no one could get on the end of it.
Matt Plant sent a header just over the bar from a Lee Thompson cross on 17 minutes and the Nailers were now beginning get more in the game.
Belper took the lead with a well worked goal in the 25th minute when Jon Froggatt nudged the ball through to Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and he ran towards goal before unselfishly crossing it to the better placed Daryll Thomas who headed into the open goal.
Thomas nearly got a second soon after the restart when he headed a Thompson cross narrowly over the bar.
The game was warming up now and Jon Froggatt had a well struck effort plucked out of the air by Mark Hales, but Rainworth were no slouches on the break and needed to be watched.
However Belper tightened their grip on the game in the 34th minute when Rob Paling’s under hit back pass was pounced on by Jon Froggatt, and he won the battle for possession against Hales before rolling the ball into the unguarded net.
Belper started the second period needing a third goal to seal the points but Rainworth came out and tried to take the game to the Nailers, and play became tight and congested.
Daryll Thomas cut inside and released a shot from just outside the penalty area but the ball flew past the upright, however the visitors reduced the arrears unexpectedly in the 56th minute when Kallum Keane (pictured) was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area, leaving Rob Paling to score from the penalty spot.
The two-goal cushion should have been restored in the 60th minute when Paris Simmons found Ruben Wiggins-Thomas on his own just outside the six yard area, but he couldn’t direct the ball past the ‘keeper.
Rainworth’s new found confidence almost yielded an equaliser on 65 minutes when a flowing move ended with a terrific shot from Danny Naylor that Barcherini had to save at full length.
Then at the other end Daryll Thomas was inches away from finding Jon Froggatt running in and on 67th minutes Paris Simmons put a good chance wide after a swift break.
Barcherini saved the Nailers again when he came out to block Craig Mitchell’s shot after the Rainworth striker had burst clear and at this point the game was end-to-end entertainment.
Jon Froggatt was unlucky to see his 75th minute header tipped over by Hales from a perfectly delivered cross by Richard Adams, but the Nailers were opened up shortly after and a Belper defender made an important block to deny Step Frost who looked set to score.
Lee Thompson couldn’t get a decisive touch in the 80th minute as the Nailers walked the ball through the Rainworth defence, but unfortunately Rainworth forced an equaliser in the 81st minute when Chris Hewitt deflected Max Wright’s cross into the far corner.
Belper should have regained the lead in the 87th minute when Daryll Thomas latched on to a long pass and brought the ball down well, but then hit his shot high over the cross bar.
He then put a another good chance wide a minute later after Jon Froggatt had picked him out at the near post, but he side footed the ball wide.
Belper had spurned enough chances to have won the game twice over and again in the final moments Jon Froggatt fired a good effort over the bar, but not for the first time this season at Christchurch Meadow, the Nailers had let their opponents off the hook.
Belper Town: Barcherini, Thompson, Adams, Simmons, Keane, Plant, Wiggins-Thomas, Thorpe (Cartwright 74), Froggatt, Thomas, Davis (Peel 84). Unused subs: Pride, Rushbury, Barnard.
Rainworth Miners Welfare: Hales, Paling, Carolan (Frost 55), Fearon, Alberry, Cooksey, Wright, Naylor (Gee-Pemberton 78), Mitchell, Langford (Hewitt 58), Jackson. Unused subs: Camm.
Match Sponsor: Belper Town Juniors FC
Man of the Match: Matt Plant.