Nailers pegged back in injury time
By David Laughlin
Belper manager Grant Black returned to his old stomping ground and was close to pulling off a fine victory in an incident packed game at the Ingfield Stadium, writes Nigel Oldrini
Three red cards, six goals, one of them a wonder strike from 60 yards all made for great entertainment for the bumper crowd who looked on in brilliant September sunshine.
The Nailers gave a début to central defender Isaac Assenso which allowed Alex Peterson to revert to his striking role alongside Nathan Curtis, while Max Beardmore was fit enough to resume his place between the posts.
Newly formed Ossett United, created by the amalgamation of the two Ossett teams (Town and Albion), made a forceful start with Tom Corner hitting a good chance in to the ground and straight at Max Beardmore.
However it was Belper who started the scoring on 15 minutes with Nathan Curtis putting a close range volley into an empty net after the Ossett defenders had been drawn to the near post following a corner kick.
The Nailers’ lead didn’t last long because in the 18th minute a mistake in midfield allowed Ossett to move the ball out to Corey Gregory who slotted the ball past Beardmore from a narrow angle.
United could have taken the lead on 27 minutes after Dominic Allen was dispossessed just outside the penalty area and Tom Corner prodded the ball wide when he should really have hit the target.
Belper stunned the home support by going back in front on 33 minutes.
The hosts had struggled to deal with high balls especially from Darol Lucas’ long throw ins, and from one of these Danny South glanced the ball over everyone and into the net.
Dominic Allen had a close range effort cleared off the line, and in the 40th minute the Nailers tightened their grip on the game, or so they thought.
Another long throw in from Lucas caused Ossett problems again and with Alex Peterson in the thick of things the ball found its way to the far post where Rikki Paylor was on hand to steer it home.
While the first half had been fast paced and competitive, the second period had an extra edge to it that spilled over into on field battles that the referee found hard to deal with.
The catalyst for this was a rash tackle on Dominic Allen by Josh Grant for which he was sent off, but as often happens, the 10 men of Ossett stepped up the pace and reduced the arrears when Tom Corner scored at the back post from a corner kick.
Ossett were now fired up and pushed the Nailers back, and appearances in the Ossett penalty area were increasingly rare.
Craig Nelthorpe did create a problem for Brett Souter in the Ossett goal with an in-swinging corner that the ‘keeper just managed to palm away, but it was the hosts that made all the running as the half progressed.
Danny South made a great tackle to deny Adam Priestley a shooting opportunity on 74 minutes, then an off the ball incident flared up into a pitched battle with the referee deciding that Jason Yates and Craig Nelthorpe were at the root of the issue, and red carded them both.
The Nailers were still tentatively hanging on to their slender lead until that is, the 90th minute when Jack Vann struck a 60 yard shot that cleared everyone including the Belper ‘keeper who seconds earlier had come out to make a clearance, and the ball sailed into the net leaving Belper stunned.
George Milner nearly grabbed an audacious winner with a shot on the turn that the Ossett ‘keeper blocked, but after a breathtaking afternoon’s action, and the loss of a two goal lead for the second game running, there could be no complaints about sharing the points.
There will be a coach travelling to Romulus for the FA Cup tie on Saturday and will leave The Triangle at 12 noon prompt.
Ossett United: Souter, Vann, Grayson (Yates 61), Burke, Knowles, Grant, Priestley, Stockhill (Church 80), Corner, Gregory (Mbeka 61), Khan. Unused subs: Youel, Overton.
Belper Town. Beardmore, Lucas, Clark, Paylor, South, Assenso, Milner, Allen (Gordon (61), Peterson, Curtis (Crouz 71), Nelthorpe. Unused subs: Johal, Day, Bingley
Referee: Callum Gough