Brilliant Belper back to their best
Belper displayed no signs of rust after playing for the first time since February, beating Kidsgrove Atheltic comfortably by three goals, writes Nathaniel Kay
Aaron Webster made three alterations as Lee Williamson returned from suspension to replace Jack Hallahan. Cameron Steele dropped to the bench in place of Leandro Browne whilst Max Thornberry came in for Joe Hunt.
15 minutes flew by without anything of note, both sides gaging one another and finding their feet on a less than desirable surface.
This changed instantly. Williamson fizzed the ball into the feet of Browne, who let the ball come across his body and rolled his shot to nestle in the corner of the net to open the scoring.
Along with the lead came Belper’s desire and hunger to win the ball back, hunting in packs and leaving no loose ball unchallenged. The transition from attack back to defence was especially satisfying, a downfall this campaign.
Despite all the hard work, it was a moment of magic that doubled Belper’s advantage just past half an hour. Williamson involved again fed Dominic Allen, whose squared ball found Dylan Garnett lurking on the edge of the box. Hit first time, the ball sailed past Dave Parton in the Kidsgrove goal, a shot that Garnett will rarely hit so sweet.
All the home side could muster from the first 45 minutes was captain Ant Malbon’s deflected shot just shy of the post, the lack of chances credited to Belper’s steely backline.
To Kidsgrove’s credit, they came out on top in the second half and Jon Beaumont sliced a golden opportunity over the bar from six yards out.
Malbon controlled the ball inside the area with numbers around him, swivelled and shot towards goal, only for Joe Season-Smithard to make an impressive save.
Webster’s side slowly took the sting out of Kidsgrove’s momentum and turned the half on it’s head.
Steadman should’ve sealed the points after he turned inside the box to put himself through on goal. Perhaps with too much time to ponder, he blasted his shot high and wide.
Nevertheless the Nailers wrapped up a convincing victory seven minutes from time. Steadman tried his luck from a freekick which Parton parried into the grateful arms (feet) of substitute Sam Birks only to tap in on the line.
A undoubted victory made even sweeter by being accompanied with only the fifth clean sheet Belper have kept all season. Feelings are positive going into the weekends’ game with Spalding United.
Belper Town: Searson- Smithard, Thornberry, Goddard, Allen, Harrison, Carlisle, Garnett (Birks 78), Lloyd, Steadman, Williamson (Jebbbison 86), Browne (Steele 63). Unused subs: Cole.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Parton, Thompson, Lingard, Beaumont, Ashman, Duke, Davidson, Sanders (Rhodes 54), Malbon, Valido- Barai (Jepson). Unused subs: McKeever, Higham, McGaw.
Ref: Richard Watson