First win still proving elusive
By David Laughlin
Belper Town are still searching for their first win of the season after sharing the points with Carlton Town in a dour encounter at Christchurch Meadow.
The Nailers made changes to the side that lost to a last minute goal at Gresley last Tuesday evening with ‘keeper Aaron Chapman swapping places with Dave Ratcliffe on the bench.
There was no place in the squad for Ashley Longstaff but Shaun Tuton stepped in to his striking berth following his move from Matlock Town in midweek.
The last minute withdrawal of Karl Colley meant a rare start for Michael Simpkins in the centre of defence, and the recall of Jordan Ball by Doncaster Rovers made way for a space on the bench for James Ozmen.
Former Belper striker Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and goalkeeper Martin Kearney were in the Carlton Town starting line up as the Millers arrived looking to rev up their modest start to the season.
It was a relatively slow start to the game with both sides taking time to settle but Belper started to show up the stronger enjoying more possession in the first 15 minutes.
The Nailers lofted a number of crosses into the Carlton penalty area during this period and in the 19th minute the first opportunity fell to the Nailers when Andrew Siribour’s cross reached Shaun Tuton.
Tuton turned and hit the ball goal bound and it struck a defender in the face before Colin Marrison’s follow up effort was deflected over the bar.
However it was Carlton who took the lead against the run of play when Adam Kimberley’s 23rd minute free kick crept inside the post with David Ratcliffe, at full stretch was unable to reach it.
The visitors nearly made it 2-0 when another Adam Kimberley free kick found Nick Hall unmarked on the edge of the six yard area, and David Ratcliffe reacted brilliantly to keep the header out.
Belper were caught unawares again in the 37thminute when Luke Smithson’s cross was met unchallenged by Sam MacVicar and his header flew just past the post.
Shaun Tuton forced a good save from Martin Kearney two minutes later when the Millers’ ‘keeper reached an angled drive headed for the far corner.
James Ozmen was introduced instead of Colin Marrison and Mark Ward replaced Ryan Mallon as manager Peter Duffield tried to inject some urgency into the Nailers’ play.
Andrew Siribour had two half chances in the opening moments of the second half as the Nailers came out in purposeful mood.
Ward tried a shot from the edge of the area in the 55th minute but the ‘keeper saved easily and it was proving difficult for the Nailers to create clear cut chances.
Belper were wide open again in the 67thminute when Sam MacVicar had time to pick his spot and the Nailers’ were indebted to David Ratcliffe for blocking the shot with his legs.
Belper fought back and had a couple of scrambles in the Carlton six yard area that resulted in two consecutive corner kicks, which unfortunately came to nothing.
However, Simon Harrison gave the Nailers a huge lift when he lashed in the equaliser from the edge of the penalty area on 73 minutes, and Belper now looked to push on for a winner.
Simon Harrison almost created an opening for Belper in added on time as he brushed past Daniel Fletcher but Martin Kearney cut out the cross before it reached the waiting Andrew Siribour.
Despite their best efforts the Nailers couldn’t find a winner and had to settle for a share of the spoils for the sixth game out of eight this season.
Belper Town: Ratcliffe, Pride, Wright, Marrison (Ozmen 45), Adams, Simpkins, Harrison, Warne, Tuton, Siribour (Stirrup 81), Mallon (Ward 45). Unused subs: Rushbury, Chapman.
Carlton Town: Kearney, Darkin, Fletcher, Asher, Varley, Hall, Naylor, Kimberley, Mac Vicar (Whitehurst 77), Wiggins-Thomas, Smithson (Gordon 82). Unused subs: Thornton, Clarke.
Referee: Marc Perry (Sutton Coldfield)