Last gasp goal denies Nailers victory
By David Laughlin
Draw specialists Belper Town shared the points for the seventh time in ten league outings after they conceded an equaliser in the 5th minute of added-on time.
Substitute, Jared Stephend nets the Nailers goal after a superb solo run from Simon Harrison (Photo: Tim Harrison)
The Nailers won their first game of the season against Lincoln United in midweek and unsurprisingly manager Peter Duffield retained the same starting eleven, with Karl Colley returning as a substitute.
Belper should have taken the lead after only 3 minutes after some good footwork and a precise pass from Mark Ward released Simon Harrison, but Scholars ‘keeper Ryan Price made the first of a number of crucial saves to keep the scores level.
Andy Rushbury looked to have been pushed over as he went for a loose ball close to the goal line and although the Nailers had caused problems early on, the threat from Chasetown was obvious as their ability on the break was self evident.
The Scholars promised much but delivered very little, and a free kick conceded by Michael Simpkins was wasted by Scott Rickards, who blasted high and wide.
Mark Ward’s back header from Aaron Pride’s cross was easily saved by the ‘keeper and when Gary Hay burst through, Dave Ratcliffe produced a fine save to deny the Scholars’ striker a goal.
After a fairly even first 30 minutes or so the Nailers began to impose themselves on the home side and they caused panic in the Chasetown defence culminating in a drifting Mark Ward shot that Ryan Price put around the post for a corner kick.
Belper were stringing passes together in these latter stages of the half and Andy Rushbury put over a great cross from the bye-line on 43 minutes that deserved a better outcome.
Colin Marrison put a firm header goal bound following a corner kick moments later and although the trajectory of the ball suggested a certain goal, Mark Ward couldn’t get of the way and unwittingly helped Chasetown keep the scores level.
Scott Rickards lifted the ball high over the cross bar deep into added-on time, however the Nailers had won the half on possession and opportunities and had every reason to be optimistic for the second period.
Colin Marrison forced a good save from Ryan Price early on from an Aaron Pride cross and as Belper pressed forward they began to create a number of promising situations without being able to capitalise.
Andy Rushbury nearly opened the scoring on 55 minutes when he sent a header from just inside the penalty area destined to creep under the cross bar, but the Scholars’ custodian managed to touch the ball over.
Shaun Tuton, who was one of the Nailers’ liveliest players forged his way into the penalty area but couldn’t get his shot away, and on 73 minutes Karl Colley volleyed just over after Colin Marrison had nodded a corner kick back into the six-yard area.
Jared Stephens, just introduced in place of Mark Ward cleverly put Simon Harrison in the clear but he couldn’t get his shot beyond the ‘keeper who had come out quickly to block.
But Harrison was instrumental in Belper goal scored in the 77th minute as he went on a brilliant run past two defenders before sliding the ball to Jared Stephens just outside the six yard area, and the former Sheffield player kept his head and fired the ball into the back of the net.
Chasetown naturally responded and had their best spell of the game in the remaining 15 minutes.
Theo Robinson forced another great stop from Dave Ratcliffe and it was clear that the Nailers would have to work hard if they were to secure their second win of the campaign.
Andrew Siribour’s pace took him clear on the right flank but seemed to be in two minds as to what he should do with the ball and a very promising situation was lost, then Shaun Tuton had a shooting opportunity moments later but he also spurned a match-winning moment by slicing his shot.
The points looked safe as the game entered the final minute of added on time but an innocuous challenge by Shaun Tuton was harshly called as a free kick, and from it Danny Smith ran in unchallenged to head the equaliser and break Belper hearts.
Chasetown: Price, Downes, Jackson, Farmer, Bate, Reesdale, Westward (Smith 65), Egan (Saunders 45), Hay, Rickards, Maquire (Robinson 76). Unused subs: Bryan, Deaville.
Belper Town: Ratcliffe, Pride, Wright, Marrison, Adams, Simpkins (Colley 30), Harrison, Warne, Ward (Stephens 70), Tuton, Rushbury (Siribour 59). Unused subs: Stirrup, Chapman.
Referee: Geoff Law (Leicester)