Nailers celebrate opening day victory at Kidsgrove
Belper Town travelled to one of the early favourites in the division, Kidsgrove Athletic, for their opening match of the 2016/17 Evo-Stik season.
Kidsgrove looked as if they would live up to expectations early in the game and despite possession being very even, Athletic enjoyed the majority of the early chances.
Most of these chances were falling to last season’s Divisional leading scorer, Anthony Malbon, but he couldn’t find a way past Danny Haystead.
Central defenders, Phil Watt and Gerome Palmer were also making life very difficult for him and were clearly beginning to frustrate him.
The Nailers also had their fair share of chances, and they made the most of these early chances with their opening goal in the 29th minute.
A fine cross from the right by Matthew Richards found its way to Johnathan Williams, his superbly executed volley thundered into the top left corner to give Belper the lead.
This gave the Nailers a boost and they began to create more chances.
A couple of marauding runs and crosses from Kyle Bryant created problems for the Kidsgrove and they were also finding it difficult to deal with the movement of Ruben Wiggins-Thomas on the break.
Conversely, Kidsgrove still looked dangerous on the counter attack.
In the 43rd minute, Kidsgrove found themselves in the Nailers box and were keeping the ball well. Attempting to clear the ball away, Phil Watt (pictured) caught a Kidsgrove forward instead of the ball, forcing the referee to point to the spot.
Anthony Malbon stepped up to take the penalty. He stroked the ball into the bottom left hand corner, just out of the reach of Danny Haystead, to make it all square going into the break.
When the Nailers returned for the second half, they looked in determined mood to regain the initiative.
Impressive passing lead to Alex Steadman collecting the ball on the edge of the penalty area the box and his clever back heel to Johnathan Williams provided another excellent finish to restore the Nailers lead.
In the latter stages of the game, Kidsgrove pushed hard to try and get back into the game and increasingly committed more men forward.
However they found it difficult to break down a formidable Nailers defence, particularly the centre back partnership of Phil Watt and Gerome Palmer.
Despite all of this pressure, Belper Town managed to extended their lead,
Kidsgrove Athletic keeper Krystian Burzynsk found the ball at his feet and was quickly being closed down by Wiggins-Thomas.
The goalkeeper tried to take the ball around the striker but Wiggins-Thomas stole the ball away from him before smashing the ball home into the open goal to kill the game off.
Belper Town: Haystead, Bryant, Guy, Graves, Palmer, Watt, Richards, Williams, Wiggins-Thomas, Hollis, Steadman. Subs: Ball, Allen, Armstrong, Keenan, J Palmer
Kidsgrove Athletic: Burzynski, Smith, Davidson, Hodgkinson, Artell, Grocott, Clayton, Skelton, Dillon, Malbon, Pickerill. Subs: Keen, Woolley, Maddison, Morris, Attrell.