Nailers concede late in defeat to league leaders
Belper Town had a draw snatched away from them in the final few minutes for the second time within three days.
Spalding United’s Andrew Stainfield gave the visitors the lead late on as they beat the Nailers 2-1 in a tense game that could easily have gone either way. This being a similar story for the Nailers, after they were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup against Halesowen in a 1-0 defeat.
Spalding were sat at the top of the league at kick off, so the Nailers new that they were in for another tough test and would have to put in a good 90 minutes worth of effort if they were to get a result.
The game started in one of the worst ways possible for the Nailers, with centre back Gerome Palmer having to leave the field just 13 minutes in, adding to an ever growing injury list for the manager Charlie Palmer to have to deal with.
The Nailers were matching Spalding, as they had Halesowen, and looked very much in the game, a superb strike from the Nailers skipper, Eric Graves, that floated just over the crossbar certainly gave Spalding a message that they were in for a battle.
Unfortunately for Graves, just 10 minutes later he was involved at the other end of the field. A low Spalding cross came in from left aiming for one of their forwards, Graves got a foot too the ball to try and clear it, however the ball sliced off of his foot as he turned the ball into his own net to give the lead to the visitors.
The Belper players were clearly determined to get back into the game as they began to pressurise the Spalding defence even more, with a number of balls being put into the box, hoping to be met by a Belper Town head.
This soon paid off for the Nailers as Alex Steadman was pushed to the ground while he was challenging for the ball in the air, the referee instantly pointed to the spot to give the Nailers an opportunity to level.
Steadman stepped up to take the penalty, just as he did against Carlton Town earlier in the season, and once again he was as cool as you could hope for as he slotted the penalty into the bottom right of the goal.
Going into the break, Palmer could be happy with the way that his side had matched up against the current league leaders and would clearly be looking for his side to push on from that in the second half and maybe find a winner.
The game continued with a high level of intensity, with neither keeper being really tested either on, but that was mainly down to the excellence of the defending from both sides.
However, this excellent defending momentarily lapsed from the Nailers as Spalding’s skipper, Andrew Stainfield was left to attack a Spalding corner on his own, he headed it with great power into the top corner to restore Spaldings lead.
The Nailers only had 9 minutes to find themselves an equaliser, which they came extremely close to doing in the final minute of play.
Phil Watt found the ball on the edge of the box with goal in his sights, he looked up before curling it just agonisingly wide of the right hand corner of the goal.
As the final whistle went, the frustration was clear to see on the faces of all the Belper players.
The Nailers will be looking to recreate a similar sort of performance, but hopefully collect all three points, when they travel away to Romulus on Friday night.