Nailers return to winning ways
Belper Town returned to winning ways in the Evo-Stik League East Division as they defeated Carlton Town 2-1 at the Silver X Stadium, writes Jack Drury.
PHOTO: Alfred Thompson's half volley gave the Nailers an early lead (Pic: Tim Harrison)
First half goals from Alfred Thompson and George Milner were enough for the Nailers as they held of a late Carlton fightback to pick up their first league win since New Year’s Day.
Belper showed their intentions from the start, with skipper Danny South heading against the crossbar after only three minutes following a teasing Craig Nelthorpe corner.
Piteu Crouz found joy down Belper’s left hand side a lot during the match, dragging a shot wide after cutting inside eight minutes in.
The Carlton crossbar was rattled again a couple of minutes later, as George Milner smashed against the frame of the goal as he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to break the deadlock, as 17 year old Thompson opened his account for the club with a fine left footed volley after a quarter of an hour, following more good work down the left from Crouz.
The Nailers faced very little danger in the opening exchanges, however Sam Colbear, who came off at half time with a suspected broken rib, needed to be alert to block a close range effort to keep the side’s lead.
Crouz, who was presented with January’s player of the month award prior to kick off, saw a number of efforts denied as Belper struggled to find that all important second goal, and found their quality dragged down to match their opponents.
The visitors should’ve been level from a Niall Davie long throw, with Kieran Walker heading over unmarked.
Only a minute before half time, Milner found space in the area to drive a shot past the diving Jack Steggles to double Belper’s advantage going into the break.
The second half brought a drop in quality from both sides as a stop-start game saw a number of yellow cards for both sides.
Nathan Curtis, on as a sub for the stricken Colbear, had a number of chances to add to his tally for the season, but failed to convert, the best chance on the hour mark after great work from Milner on the left hand side.
South, who was excellent all game, proved his versatility with a commanding performance as both a target man and centre back, and it was his flick that presented Curtis another chance to kill the game off, but his powerful strike was saved two minutes from time.
Debutant Sebastian Malkowski in goal will be disappointed to not keep a clean sheet after Aaron Opoku slide through the keeper’s legs in stoppage time to halve the deficit, with the Polish International having an overall quiet yet confident first start.
A scrappy finale followed at the Silver X, with Carlton failing to make the most of a corner kick deep into injury time following some sloppy closeout play from Belper.
Despite not recording their first clean sheet in the league since November, Belper Town picked up a victory at home to keep alive their playoff push, before the long away trip to Wisbech next time out.
Belper Town: Malkowski, Thompson (Mackie 70), Assenso, Nelthorpe, Ubah, Colbear (Curtis 45), Robson, Gordon, South , Milner, Crouz (Owen 72). Unused subs: Clark, Peterson
Carlton Town: Streggles, Ebanks (Frost 15), Davie, Ikwa, Moore, Walker, Rollinson, Bertram, Motshweni, Opoku, Bartle (Akaunu 60). Unused subs: Stovell, Podier, Clarice
Referee: Dean Steatham