Brighouse show how it’s done
Belper played well but Brighouse were the better side, as they recorded a convincing 1-3 away victory, writes Richard Phelps.
PHOTO: Belper equalise when the ball deflects off Brighouse defender James Hurtley into the net (Pic: Tim Harrison)
The two teams started the match well and both went close to breaking the deadlock early on in the encounter.
With a quarter of an hour gone, Brighouse left-back Sam Wright shot into the side netting from a tight angle.
Two minutes later, Belper thought they and opened the scoring when debutant Anthony Mackie’s left-footed finish from a Nathan Curtis pull-back was ruled out for offside.
In the end, it was the visitors who did took the lead, in the 20th minute when Aaron Martin finished coolly into the bottom right corner, after a lay-off from Gabriel Johnson.
The hosts weren’t behind for long though, as less than five minutes later, Piteu Crouz’s low cross hit Brighouse defender James Hurtley, who was unable to do anything about the ball deflecting off him into his own net, to give Belper an equaliser.
And the Nailers should have gone in front in the 28th minute, when George Milner played Mackie in, but the new man shot straight at Brighouse goalkeeper, Matt Smith.
Smith made another fine save, ten minutes later, this time, saving a powerful, stinging shot from Crouz.
At the other end, Martin nearly grabbed his second of the game just before half-time, when his flicked header landed on top of the crossbar before bouncing over.
So, the sides went in level at the break following an entertaining, opening 45 minutes with lots of opportunities.
The chances kept coming thick and fast after the restart with Derry Robson nearly giving the Nailers the lead, with an acrobatic effort.
In the 54th minute, the away outfit saw Zeph Thomas’ shot blocked on the line as they began to pile the pressure on.
A minute later, Belper ‘keeper and the club’s Player of the Month for December, Leigh Overton, tipped a superb volley from Martin over the bar.
However, from the subsequent corner Brighouse captain Adam Field headed home to restore his team’s advantage.
Overton denied Martin again in the 61st minute, after the striker had been played in and was through on goal.
With just under 25 minutes remaining, another Crouz cross nearly fell to a yellow shirt but Smith smothered the ball.
In the 69th minute, Martin finally did, get his second goal of the match when the striker pounced on an error from Overton and rolled his shot into the net to all but seal the win for Brighouse
After 74 minutes, Alex Peterson missed a golden chance from point-blank range which would have gotten his side back into it. The Belper captain’s header went agonisingly wide of the post from a Craig Nelthorpe cross.
With little over ten minutes to go, Martin nearly completed his hat-trick, but Nailers substitute Jake Sturgess tackled him excellently before the Brighouse striker could get his shot away.
With 3 minutes to go, Grant Black’s men missed another header through Isaac Assenso, who couldn’t get enough direction on the ball.
This proved to be the final chance and the match which ended in Brighouse’s favour and who will be happy with the manner of their triumph.
Belper Town: Overton, Assenso, Nelthorpe, Robson, Colbear (Sturgess 73), Peterson © (Thompson 81), Mackie (Duggan 81), Gordon, Curtis, Milner, Crouz.
Brighouse Town: Smith, Field ©, Wright, Jones (Heeley 84), Harris, Hurtley, Robinson (Jenkinson 84), Haigh, Martin, Johnson, Thomas (Donovan 65).
Referee: Thomas Wainman