Late goal burst secures the points
By David Laughlin
Belper Town struggled for a time to overcome 10-man Kidsgrove Athletic and only made the score emphatic with two goals in added-on time, but nevertheless ended up comfortable winners.
Shaun Roulston capped a fine performance with his first goal for the club (Photo: Tim Harrison)
Nailers manager Peter Duffield made one change to the starting line-up with Chris Adam coming in for Simon Harrison who had to settle for a place on the bench.
Matt Millns and Aaron Pride were still unavailable through injury.
The visitors had struggled to make an impact in the league this season and arrived at Christchurch Meadow in the lower reaches of the division.
Shane Reaney’s early free kick was taken from the edge of the penalty area after Richard Adams gave away a cheap foul, and although the opportunity was wasted, it had been the Staffordshire side that had started the game the brighter.
Chris Adam did well to get past two defenders and get the ball across from the bye-line but Dave Dyson cut out the resulting cross as the Nailers started to questions of the Kidsgrove defence
The game turned when the visitors went down to 10 men in the 8th minute when James Curley appeared to head butt Richard Adams and the referee showed no hesitation in showing the red card.
Belper soon took advantage of the situation and took the lead in the 15th minute when Eric Graves took responsibility for the ball and scored with a near post shot that caught out Kidsgrove ‘keeper Dave Dyson.
Chris Adam then took the ball 35 yards from inside his own half and released it to Jon Froggatt, however the Belper striker’s shot was charged down before it reached its intended target
Adam encroached into the penalty area on the half hour mark, skipping past two defenders but his snap shot was deflected for a corner kick.
The Kidsgrove goal then led a charmed life for a few seconds after Shaun Tuton’s initial effort was saved by a Dave Dyson’s flailing leg and they survived a number of other efforts before finally scrambling the ball away.
The Nailers had the comfort of a second goal in the 38th minute when Andy Rushbury picked out Shaun Roulston with a pin point cross and he planted a perfect header well wide of the ‘keeper.
The visitors surprisingly pulled a goal back in the 43rd minute after the Nailers had failed to clear the ball following a rare Kidsgrove attack and Dan Skelton struck a low drive from outside the penalty area into the far corner giving Aaron Chapman no chance.
Into the second half and Shaun Tuton hit a good effort from the edge of the penalty area that the ‘keeper collected at the second attempted whilst Chris Adam had a great chance when he ran through on the ‘keeper but his shot hit Dyson and went for a corner kick.
Chris Adam was close to reaching a Jon Froggatt cross in the 53rd minute as the Nailers looked intent on restoring their two goal advantage.
Richard Adams had Dave Dyson sprawling across his goal with his glancing header, just before Eric Graves was thwarted by Dyson with a full length save.
Chris Adam found himself in a similar position as he was before on 62 minutes but again he couldn’t find away past the Kidsgrove ‘keeper
Steve Warne nearly caught the ‘keeper off his line with a shot from 35 yards but the ball drifted a yard wide as the frustration at Belper’s inability to finish Kidsgrove off racked up a notch.
A wave of relief went around Christchurch meadow in the 74th minute when the ball fell to Greg Wright 12 yards out and he made sure with a crisp finish into the corner to give the Nailers some breathing space.
Simon Harrison demonstrated good skills to create an opportunity but nudged the ball over the cross bar, then a minute or so later Jon Froggatt steered the ball inches past the far post with the all the target to aim for.
Darryl Thomas couldn’t believe he had missed a great chance to make it 4-1 in the 89th minute, and his miss only added to countless other squandered opportunities during the afternoon
However Colin Marrison managed to buck the trend when he turned in an Andy Rushbury cross in the first minute of added-on time.
Jon Froggatt rounded off a comfortable win for the Nailers after Eric Graves took the ball off Dean Smith and unselfishly laid it in the path of the Belper striker who made certain from 10 yards out.
For the most part the Nailers had made hard work of beating a struggling Kidsgrove side who had been handicapped by the loss of a player only 8 minutes into the game, but it was vital that they secured three points with a number of testing fixtures to come.
Belper Town: Chapman, Wright, Rushbury, Cotton (Marrison 79), Roulston, Adams, Adam (Harrison 75), Warne, Froggatt, Tuton (Thomas 60), Graves. Unused subs: Ward, Ratcliffe.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Dyson, Smith, Donnelly (Johnston 31), Espley, Parkinson, Taylor, Hill (Lowndes 83), Skelton, Curley, Reaney (Nagington 68), Sherratt. Unused subs: Street.
Referee: Joe Clark (Walsall)
Match Sponsors: Alan Benfield Limited.
Man of the Match: Jon Froggatt.