Nailers slip to third consecutive defeat
Belper Town slipped to a third successive defeat but could only blame themselves for not getting at least a point from this game, writes Nigel Oldrini.
The Nailers welcomed back Eric Graves to the starting line after he missed the midweek trip to Frickley while Alex Steadman was fit to start after sitting out the same game on the bench.
Dexter Atkinson, Jahven Davidson-Miller and Josh Barr-Rostron were either unavailable or injured while the long-awaited international clearance of Leandro Browne may soon be coming to a conclusion.
Muzi Nduna had the afternoon’s first chance when he ran clear to put his shot wide of the target and the same player tried his luck moments later from 25 yards but again the ball was wide.
Chasetown were lucky in the 6th minute when Alex Steadman’s shot took a wicked deflection and Curtis Pond just managed to palm the ball wide.
From the resulting corner kick Chris Budrys jumped higher than anyone to power the ball into the net for his first goal for the Nailers on 7 minutes.
The Scholars responded with a fierce drive from Will Whieldon that Danny Roberts pushed away but the Nailers could have added to their lead when Alex Steadman made space for an angled shot but he sliced it wide.
On 17 minutes Muzi Nduna’s shot nearly caught out Danny Roberts with a shot that sped off the ground to end up as a corner kick, then unfortunately Chasetown were gifted an equaliser on 19 minutes when hesitation on the ball by Jon Guy allowed Muzi Nduna to run away and plant the ball in the Belper net.
Alex Steadman scooped a good chance onto the cross bar shortly afterwards and the game continued to be end to end as both sides looked likely to add to their respective totals.
James O’Neill tried his luck from 30 yards with a well struck free kick that Roberts did well to punch away, and moments later Dominic Allen missed a great chance after Kieran O’Connell put him through.
Chasetown spurned a good opportunity when Nduna had time on the ball but his cross was to far away from George Cater running in.
The two teams started the second period all square but in the 51st minute the Nailers were caught out when George Cater nipped in unmarked to drive a low shot past Roberts from close range.
The Nailers made two changes in quick succession with Sam Birks and Dylan Garnett replacing Eric Graves and Kieran O’Connell respectively.
Sam Birks forced Pond into a reaction save with his legs on 57 minutes as the Nailers got themselves back into the game and then Chris Budrys headed a corner kick just wide.
Nduna was inches away from getting a third for the visitors when he directed a Cater cross just wide of the far post and the Nailers endured a torrid few minutes midway way through the half when the visitors peppered the Belper goal with everything they could throw at them.
Even so, the Nailers looked certain to equalise when the ball came to Sam Birks on the edge of the six yard area and looked odds on to score, but a last ditch block by a Chasetown defender denied him.
The Nailers were still very much in the game and putting the Scholars’ defence under pressure and an equaliser looked a possibility.
Yet another good opening went begging on 81 minutes after good interchanging of passes, but Steadman couldn’t get his feet on the right side of the ball.
The Nailers piled on the pressure in the closing stages and might have scored in the final minute of normal time but for a last ditch intervention that prevented Chris Budrys making contact.
There was plenty of incident in the Chasetown penalty area including a strong penalty shout but it wasn’t to be and the Nailers fell to their third successive defeat.
Belper Town: Roberts, Dennis, Hunt J, Graves (Birks 55), Hunt M, Guy, Allen, Goddard, Budrys, O’Connell (Garnett 51), Steadman. Subs not used: Thornberry, Constable, Rathbone.
Chasetown: Pond, Baker, Mzungwana, Flattley, Smith, Smith, O’Neill, Cater, Craddock, Nduna, Whieldon (Davies 90), Lovatt J (Wellecombe 46). Unused subs: Degville-Cross, Lovatt C, Reaney.
Referee: Samuel Kane