Honours even against Frickley Athletic
Belper Town scored both goals in this hard fought and entertaining encounter at the Silver X Stadium, writes Nigel Oldrini.
The Nailers gave home débuts to Derek Ubah and Louis Danquah signed recently from Clitheroe and Bradford Park Avenue respectively while Nathan Curtis and Danny South were completing suspensions..
The visitors included former Belper players Anthony Wilson and Phil Watt in their starting line up and were out to avenge a 2-0 home defeat sustained earlier in the season.
Jacob Hazel had an early chance to take the lead in the 5th minute but shot wide when well placed, then with the Nailers taking the initiative in the early stages Louis Danquah created a shooting opportunity, but he sent his shot straight at Hugo Warhurst.
The Nailers took the lead on 17 minutes when Piteu Crouz received the ball just inside the penalty and in one clean move, turned and hit the ball just inside the near post and gave the NaIlers the early advantage.
Frickley, who looked a more accomplished team than when the teams met in November, soon began to fight back and Thomas Burgin went close with an acrobatic overhead kick in the 20th minute.
Anthony Wilson saw his close range effort deflected over the cross bar soon afterwards and with Belper having to defend a little more than they would have preferred, the visitors equalised under unfortunate circumstances from a Belper perspective.
Deep into first time added on time, Jacob Hazel caught the Nailers on the back foot with a perfectly flighted cross into the six yard area, and the unfortunate Craig Nelthorpe met the ball facing the wrong way and diverted it into his own goal.
Just before the half time whistle George Milner struck a half chance over the ball from a corner kick, and the Nailers could consider themselves unfortunate not to be holding a lead at the break.
The visitors starting the second period strongly and the Nailers were indebted to Danny Gordon for being in the right place to head the ball off the line twice in a minute with Sam Liversidge going the closest to scoring.
Sam Colbear, who was leading the line in this game sent Piteu Crouz away in the 49th minute and as he bore down on goal, his fiercely driven shot was blocked before it could reach it’s target.
Alfred Thompson was in the right place to clear a Todd Jordan header off the line then Belper produced one of their best moves of the half culminating with Sam Colbear shooting just over the cross bar.
Both sides looked capable of getting a winner and the crowd were treated to an end to end game, despite there being no end product for either team.
Connor Smith might have won it for the visitors on 68 minutes after exchanging passes with a team mate, but his shot went straight at Leigh Overton and the danger was gone.
Despite the efforts of both teams, there was little prospect of a winner for either as the clock ran down, and in the final analysis a draw was perhaps the fairest outcome.
Belper Town: Overton, Thompson, Nelthorpe, Robson, Ubah, Assenso, Crouz (Owen 77) Gordon,Colbear, Milner, Quandary (Mackie 63). Unused subs: Deacey, Clark, Pugh
Frickley Athletic: Warhurst, Smith, Algar, Ible, Burgin, Young, Walton, Liversidge, Wilson, Jordan, Hazel. Unused subs: Watt, Burton, Carrick, Szanto, Mears.
Referee: Kevin Saunby