Second half fight back floors United
By David Laughlin
Belper Town staged a remarkable second half comeback to claim a famous victory over play off hunting Ossett United, writes Nigel Oldrini.
PHOTO: Danny South turns to celebrate after his winning goal (Pic: Tim Harrison)
On a glorious Easter Saturday afternoon the Nailers returned to the Silver X Stadium on the back of two excellent away wins at Cleethorpes and Stamford, to face an Ossett side whose recent good form had seen them rise to 3rd in the league
The Nailers were without striker George Milner due to an ankle injury so Nathan Curtis came in as his replacement, otherwise the same team that has picked up 6 points from the last two away fixtures was selected.
Ossett were focussed on maximum points from their remaining 3 games to ensure they remained in a play-off position which would be a great achievement for a club that underwent major changes during the last close season when the two Ossett clubs “Town’ and ‘Albion’ merged.
A stop start first half had an end of season feel to it as the hard pitch was not conducive to flowing football.
Former FC United of Manchester record scorer Tom Greaves had the afternoon’s first attempt on goal in the 5th minute but Seb Malkowski was equal to it, then in a lightning Belper break Piteu Crouz switched the play to Nathan Curtis but he allowed the ball to run wide and left himself too much to do.
In a similar break on 19 minutes Alex Peterson tried to feed the unmarked Curtis but his pass was cut out, and then Liam Owen had an effort blocked on 23 minutes.
Belper came closest to a goal in this period a minute later when Isaac Assenso sent a header from a corner kick against the angle of the goal with United ‘keeper Brett Souter well beaten.
The visitors came into the game more as the half progressed and it looked quite likely that they would score through open play.
However when the goal came it came from a set piece situation after the Nailers had conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area in the 35th minute.
Adam Priestley stepped up to take the kick and fooled everyone by drilling the ball low under the defensive wall and past a flat footed Seb Malkowski who had clearly been taken equally by surprise.
The Nailers came close to an equaliser in the closing moments when Danny South nodded on a free kick and Alex Peterson headed straight at the ‘keeper.
The second half began poorly for the Nailers who conceded a second goal on 48 minutes when Andy Monkhouse met a corner kick at the near post and headed the ball firmly into the back of the net.
The Nailers looked deflated at this point but somehow they managed to pull themselves back from the brink and excited the crowd with an energised and exciting recovery.
Danny South and Danny Gordon had come close to reducing the arrears before they started the comeback for real in the 58th minute.
Sam Colbear’s low trajectory long throw was flicked on by South, and Derry Robson headed the ball into the net from less than 6 yards out
Then barely two minutes later Piteu Crouz stretched the visitor’s defence to the extent that Ossett skipper Alex McQuade felled the Belper man inside the penalty area, and it was an easy decision for the referee to award a spot kick.
Crouz took the penalty himself and made no mistake from 12 yards.
The Nailers were a different team to that of the first half and it was Ossett who were now looking shaky, so Belper pressed home their advantage and were rewarded with the eventual winner in the 74th minute.
Nailers’ talisman Danny South was the match winner with a powerful header from a corner kick that flew past the ‘keeper to complete a remarkable turnaround, and a shell shocked Ossett side just didn’t have the willpower to come back from that.
Belper Town. Malkowski, Gordon, Clark (Colbear 10), Robson, South, Assenso, Deacey, Owen, Peterson, Curtis. Crouz Unused subs: Boyall, Dudley, Pugh
Ossett United: Souter, Burke (Church 88), Chantler, McQuade, Gay, Gregory, Priestley, Monkhouse, Greaves, Basic Chippendale 77), Khan (Corner 61). Unused subs: Porritt, Foley.
Referee: Neil Allsop