Nailers narrowly beaten on opening day
The Nailers’ season began with a tough 1-0 defeat to one of the title favourites Basford United.
After a hard-fought performance from Belper through the early stages of the game, the Nailers were finally broken down after Lewis Carr headed home a good delivery from James Reid.
The Nailers had held on bravely up until that point, with Basford beginning to find some momentum in the second half, with Eric Graves pulling off a spectacular goal line clearance just after the break.
Belper had the opportunity to take the lead just before the break, but Alex Steadman’s penalty was saved by the legs of Saul Deeney to keep it level at half-time.
The opening game didn’t come without controversy, as full-back Joe Hunt was sent off after the referee decided that he prevented a goal scoring opportunity by hand balling just inside the Belper half.
The referee didn’t initially give the decision however, after he spoke to his assistant he chose to give Hunt his marching orders.
Despite Basford controlling the later stages of the game, Belper more than matched Basford throughout the first half.
It looked as if Belper would take the lead 20 minutes in as the ball fell to John Guy in the box, but his two close range efforts were both blocked by Basford defenders.
Danny Roberts played his first game for Belper after the former Witton Albion keeper joined the club on Thursday.
He made some excellent saves on the day that helped reduce the losing deficit, including a spectacular push onto the crossbar from a distant Reid strike.
The Nailers were plagued with a little bit of an injury crisis, leaving the team with no forwards on the bench as Matt Harris, Laurence Constable and Alex Steadman led the line for Belper.
Belper will be looking to bounce back as Tuesday night sees Anthony Danylyk and Paul Donnelly return to Leek Town for the first time since joining Belper.