Nailers battle for goalless draw
Belper Town secured their first point of the season with a battling performance at Harrison Park and thwarted a high energy Leek side who threw absolutely everything at the Nailers from the first minute, writes Nigel Oldrini.
Leek, who were reportedly under pressure following a 'poor performance' in the opening day fixture at Alvechurch hit the Nailers with an almost ceaseless onslaught, and spectators were treated to a fascinating and breathless contest that somehow ended goalless.
Belper gave a debut to striker Jahvan Davidson-Miller, a former Derby County player whilst 'keeper Danny Roberts, signed from Witton Albion before the season's start, played his second game for the club.
Leek played former Nailers Rob Stevenson in an experienced line-up, and it was also an important day for Belper's management team who returned to the club that they were in charge of last season.
Last season's top scorer for the Blues, Anthony Grice, was a whisker away from scoring in the first minute with a thunderous effort that caught everyone by surprise and set the scene for the remaining 89 minutes.
Mark Grocott fired wide in the 5th minute and another fine effort from Dan Shelley soon afterwards confirmed the hosts total domination in the early stages.
Belper's Joe Hunt managed to draw a save from Ben Chapman in the Nailers first meaningful attack in the 17th minute, but Grice's 25 yard blast two minutes later left the cross bar shaking for quite a few seconds as the Nailers continued to ride their luck.
Signs of hope emerged from the Nailers midway through the half when their best move so far ended with a shot from Haydn Goddard.
Chris Budrys' hook shot from 15 yards should have gone in, but didn't, and Anthony Grice put everything he could behind a shot on 37th minute but a Belper defender managed to block what would surely have been a certain goal.
To Belper's credit they finished the half with more possession and could even have taken the lead when Eric Graves slipped the ball into Alex Steadman's path but the Belper striker put his shot into the side netting.
Jahvan Davidson-Miller boosted the Nailers' confidence on 51 minutes with a shot on the turn that cannoned away of the foot of the post, and seconds later Josh Barr-Rostron scooped a half chance over the cross bar.
Grice looked skywards when he fired another effort that was off target on 53 minutes, but such was the force of the shot into the side netting, many in the ground thought he had scored.
Jahvan Davidson-Miller sent Ben Chapman sprawling to make a save at full length when he hit a low shot to the far post, and then as Nailers grew in stature and confidence in the last 20 minutes or so Steadman almost put Davidson-Miller through on goal.
Davidson-Miller put a strong effort over the bar on 79 minutes, but an 89th minute free kick nearly resulted in a winner for the Blues when Grice glanced a Rob Stevenson free kick just wide of the upright.
Both teams left the field to appreciative applause and it almost goes without saying that Belper were very happy with a point.
Leek Town: Chapman, Green, Kearns, Grocott, Curley, Chadwick, Stevenson, Blake, Grice, Budrys (Johnson 85), Shelley. Subs not used: Maguire, Morris, Faulkener, Higham.
Belper Town: Roberts, Dennis, Hunt J, Graves, Hunt M, Guy, Goddard, Barr-Rostron, Davidson-Miller, Constable (Harris 68), Steadman. Other subs: Thornberry, Butcher, Clarke, Rathbone.
Referee: Richard Watson