Belper denied at the death again
It was late heartbreak again for the Nailers as they were denied all three points by Steels’ goalkeeper David Reay’s injury time equaliser, writes Nathaniel Kay.
PHOTO: Leandro Browne scores from close range to give Belper The lead (Pic: Tim Harrison)
Belper’s only change from the last week’s defeat to Alvechurch saw John Guy returning to the starting 11 following his three game suspension with his presence giving the defence a more familiar look.
Within ten minutes Leandro Browne found himself behind the Steels back line from a John Guy lofted ball. Browne rounded David Reay but having moved onto his weaker side but his tame effort was blocked.
Belper were in again shortly afterwards when a loose Stocksbridge pass was latched onto by new boy Ben Hutchinson who again rounded the ‘keeper, setting up a Kieran O’Connell strike that was denied by a recovering Reay save.
The home side’s high line invited Belper space and another misplaced pass allowed Alex Steadman to utilise the gap and Reay was forced into action again to deny the Nailers front man.
Stocksbridge failed to find their usual fluency and were duly punished on 30 minutes as Leandro Browne fired in at the back post after O’Connell’s shot fell kindly into his path.
John Guy’s return to the team was proving to be decisive as he ensured that Steels were limited to a few half chances and long balls into the heart of the Nailers defence..
A reaction was needed from Stocksbridge in the second half and four minutes after the interval Jack Poulton saw his shot deflected wide of the target.
Guy proved his worth again with a brilliant recovery block on Joe Lumsden, who would otherwise have had clear run on Danny Robert’s goal.
As time ticked on, possession swung the way of the hosts but Stocksbridge were met with a wall of white as Belper stood firm, often with 10 men behind the ball.
But only into the final ten minutes did the game come alive again. O’Connell slotted in Browne who played his pass agonisingly in front of the on rushing Hutchinson who would have faced an open net.
Steels’ substitute Ben Rhodes had a half to forget, being dismissed with two yellows after late fouls on Dominic Allen and Eric Graves.
Having seen Rory Coleman’s clear goal scoring opportunity shut out heroically by Will Dennis, the points were now Belper’s to lose
But, in an unlikely final scenario Stockbridge earned themselves a corner with seconds remaining. The ball was delivered into a crowded penalty area, where goalkeeper David Reay remarkably got the final touch to rescue a point in the 94th minute.
As the whistle blew, Anthony Danylyk’s men would have been kicking themselves in the manner of the draw and by not sealing the points.
Despite a solid defensive display and various passages of strong football, the Nailers are now without a win in five matches.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Dave Reay, Charlseworth (Rhodes 67), Poulton, Jordan, McFadyen, Matt Reay, Litchfield, Stirrup, Lumsden, Ruthven (Osgathorpe 45), Coleman. Unused subs: Grayson, Thompson, Laight.
Belper Town: Robert, Dennis, Allen, Graves, Hunt, Guy, Browne, Goddard, Hutchinson (Garnett 90), O’Connell, Steadman (Birks 49). Unused subs: Hunt, Barr-Rostron, Rathbone.
Referee: I. Johnston