Nailers unbeaten run ends at Brighouse
By David Laughlin
Belper Town’s unbeaten run was brought to an end by league newcomers Brighouse Town on a dull blustery afternoon in West Yorkshire, writes Nigel Oldrini
Grant Black’s men have produced some excellent displays over the past few weeks but nothing went right for the Nailers who couldn’t master the wind, nor the slope of the Brighouse playing surface.
Playing with the wind in their favour in the first half, the hosts had the majority of possession and came close to an opener in the 4th minute when Thomas Robinson’s effort landed on top of the net.
Brighouse struck in the 10th minute when Gabriel Johnson lobbed the ball into the penalty area from the bye line and Aaron Martin headed the ball in from just outside the six yard area.
There was more than a hint of offside attached to Johnson’s part in the goal, but the lack of an assistant’s flag was just the start of a frustrating afternoon of refereeing decisions that both side and particularly Belper were subjected to during the afternoon.
Despite this, the Nailers’ powers of recovery which have been a hallmark of recent performances failed to materialize in this encounter, and although Brighouse struggled themselves to get any sort of rhythm, Belper suffered even more so.
Danny South went close in the 25th minute with a header from a Craig Nelthorpe corner, this was the closest either side got to adding any further scoring until a George Milner free kick cleared the crossbar on the stroke of half time.
More was expected from Belper as they had the benefit of the wind in the second half, but in reality they struggled to get out of their own half as Town pressed them hard in the early stages.
Thomas Haigh struck a 50th minute volley just wide for Brighouse and while Belper supporters waited for their team to get a grip on the game, they watched in dismay as the hosts scored a second goal in the 57th minute.
The Nailers struggled to clear a bouncing ball in and around the six yard area and Gabriel Johnson nipped in to head it it into the net before the Nailers could react.
Johnson had an opportunity to further punish Belper on 63 minutes when he burst through to fire a shot over the cross bar, and still Belper struggled to make any impression on the game.
Substitutions were made and Danny South swapped positions with Alex Peterson and slowly the Nailers increased their presence in their opponents half.
For the last 15 minutes of the game everything started to click into place and the home team had to defend their lead to the utmost, and the feeling was growing among Nailers’ supporters that if one goal could be scored then they may be an opportunity to get something from the game after all.
Derry Robson nearly provided the spark when he hit a rising shot from 12 yards but the Jordan Porter managed to divert the ball over the cross bar.
From the resulting corner kick, Danny Gordon made the most of the wind and was unlucky to see his effort hit the upright, and with 6 minutes added on time hopes still ran high for at least a consolation goal.
But it was not to be as Brighouse successfully kept the ball in the corners and the clock subsequently ran down, leaving the Nailers had to settle for what has become a rare defeat.
Brighouse Town: Porter, Field, Wright, Heeley, Harris, Hurtley, Jenkinson (Donovan 86), Haigh, Martin (Ibrahim 45), Johnson, Robinson (Thomas 70). Unused subs: Ibrahimi, Jones.
Belper Town: Overton, Sturgess, Clark, Paylor (Crouz 56), South, Assenso, Nelthorpe, Robson, Peterson, Milner (Hancock 69), Curtis (Gordon 72) Unused subs: Esmaeily, Hough.
Referee: Nikolas Storey