Nailers suffer back-to-back defeats
By David Laughlin
Belper Town suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time since January as Pickering Town ran out 2-1 winners at the Silver X Stadium, writes Danny Bloomer.
Daniel Earl gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half, before Nailers captain Alex Peterson equalised just seven minutes later.
Joe Danby then put the Pikes in front again early in the second half and they held out to ensure Denny Ingram’s side picked up just a second win in 13 league matches.
The home side began the encounter the brighter of the two sides and almost went in front with just two minutes played. Cameron Clark’s low ball across the box found Nathan Curtis six yards out, but he saw his close ranged effort parried away by Harrison Foulkes.
George Milner then had another chance to put the Nailers in front, but he headed Danny Gordon’s front post delivery well over the bar.
Piteu Crouz was a bright spark down the left throughout the afternoon and following some neat interplay involving him and Curtis, he lashed a powerful effort from the edge of the area over the bar.
Despite Belper’s bright opening to the game, it was Pickering who broke the deadlock on 24 minutes. Stuart Mott’s raking cross field pass found Danny Earl in behind the defence and he finished confidently past the hapless Sebastian Malkowski.
The away side were not in front for long though and with just over half an hour played the Nailers got themselves back on level terms. Danny South’s flick on landed at the feet of Alex Peterson, who drove an excellent finish across goal and into the bottom corner.
South caused the Pickering back four more problems during the first half and he almost completed a quickfire turn around when his acrobatic over head kick was tipped over at full stretch by Foulkes.
The visitors did not allow the equaliser to affect their confidence however and they were close to taking the lead when Gordon was forced to clear Earl’s effort off the line.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Pikes did retake the lead. Niall Tillsley’s excellent cross to the back post found Joe Danby in acres of space and he made no mistake in finding the corner with a calm finish.
Ingram’s side continued to push for that elusive third goal and they should have had it when Josh Greening cut inside Peterson, but he lacked composure with his finish and blazed well over the bar.
With just 20 minutes to play, Belper had a guilt edge opportunity to equalise for the second time. Gordon’s corner found Sam Colbear inside the six-yard box but he somehow steered his header over the bar.
Moments later, Crouz’s deflected cross found Derry Robson at the back post but his header rolled just wide of Foulkes’ goal.
Substitute Kai Hancock then almost made an instant impact from the bench, but he flicked another Crouz cross just over the cross bar.
Belper struggled to create many clear-cut chances in the final stages of the encounter and the defeat means they drop to ninth in the Evo-Stik East Division.
The Nailers travel to play-off chasing Cleethorpes Town next week as Grant Black’s side look to arrest their recent league slump.
Belper Town: Malkowski, Assenso, Clark (Owen 79), Robson, Peterson ©, Colbear, Curtis (Deacey 58), Gordon (Hancock 74), South, Milner, Crouz. Unused subs: Boyall, Dudley.
Pickering Town: Foulkes, Tillsley ©, Jacob, Barkway, Turnbull, Bissett, Earl (Davison 87), Mott, Danby (Dalton 72), Knox, Greening. Unused subs: Thompson, Brettell, Blott.
Referee: Mark Thomas