Away day agony for Belper
By Nathaniel Kay
Promotion chasing Chasetown hit five against a Belper side down to the bare bones though injuries,writes Nathaniel Kay
PHOTO: Aaron Cole comes away with the ball (Pic: Tim Harrison)
Assistant manager Lee Williamson was handed two enforced changes as Dominic Allen and Anton Daniels picked up injuries midweek, bringing Joe Hunt and Will Dennis into the starting XI.
There was joy for the home side within ten minutes when Nick Wellecomme glanced his header in off the post to begin the romp.
Joe Searson-Smithard was without doubt the busier keeper, stopping point blank from George Cater to start his save count.
The one bright Belper spot on a warm afternoon was Lee Williamson’s calm finish past the quarter mark. Chasetown failed to clear and the assistant manager finished like a seasoned campaigner.
Belper’s retaliation was short lived as they came back under siege. Searson-Smithard faced double trouble, denying Jake Lovatt and Wellecomme in quick succession.
Just shy of half an hour Belper’s barrier was broke again. Wellecomme had grass to run into down the left, floating a ball to the back post where Lovatt headed into an empty net.
While the home side functioned as a coherent side chasing the leading pack, Belper were flawed by a weakened side.
As the second half kicked off the game was soon over as a contest. The Nailers allowed full back Oli Hayward three attempts at a cross, his third finding Lovatt who duly swept the ball into the back of the net.
And Lovatt must have enjoyed his afternoon, sealing his hat-trick in less than an hour after Jack Langston lofted a ball into the strikers’ path, providing a finish to match the pass.
Danny Cocks wanted a share of the action and got his wish after coming off the bench.
His first attempt was smothered by the resilient Searson-Smithard, however to mirror Belper’s fortunes this season, the ball looped straight into Cocks’ path for a tap in.
Without The Nailers young keeper the damage could’ve been much greater, again denying Cocks after his volleyed shot.
Three substitutes and three points wrapped up, Chasetown took their foot off the gas and allowed Belper some breathing space. The last 15 minutes saw some promising football, yet too little too late.
Another hard-hitting hammering is finishing the season with a whimper. A strong display against Cleethorpes on Tuesday night is overdue after three straight defeats.
Belper Town: Searson-Smithard, Thornberry, Hunt, Dennis (Garnett 78), McIntosh, Harrison (Butcher 70), Steele, Lloyd, Birks (Taylor 56), Williamson, Cole. Unused subs: Goddard.
Chasetown: Pond, Hayward, O’Reilly, Baker (Mzungwana 70), O’Neill, O’Reilly, Lovatt (Dundas 73), Langston, Wellecomme (Cocks 59), Whieldon, Cater. Unused subs: Hardiman, Smith.
Referee: Richard Price.