Sweet sixteen for Belper
By David Laughlin
Belper Town remained on course for a play-off spot with a relatively comfortable victory over Loughborough Dynamo, although it wasn’t until late in the game that the destination of the points was confirmed.
Jon Froggatt nets his 16th goal of the season to finally give the Nailers some breathing space. (Photo: Tim Harrison)
The Nailers were without Simon Harrison who limped out of the midweek game against Gresley and Eric Graves took his place, while Dan White was named as a substitute after returning to the club last week.
After a lively start from the visitors it was Belper who struck first in the 8th minute when Shaun Tuton’s driven cross from the right was turned in at the near post by Chris Adam.
Jon Froggatt battled his way past two defenders and had his shot beaten away by Laurie Pearson, then Chris Adam’s follow-up effort was diverted just past the post by a Dynamo defender.
The Nailers spurned a great chance to add to their total in the 25th minute when Glyn Cotton had space just inside the area but chose to pass to Shaun Tuton who overran the ball as he attempted to walk it into the net.
The game went quiet for a long spell with neither side showing any urgency, although Dynamo substitute Tris Whitman nearly caught Belper out with a shot from 15 yards that landed on top of the goal net.
Greg Wright put over a good cross in the 43rd minute that Eric Graves headed wide, but in the 45th minute Tom Liversedge punished the Nailers when he snapped up a close range opportunity after Belper had allowed Dynamo to pass their way through their defence.
The Nailers would need to show greater urgency in the second half and they put over a couple of good crosses in the early stages, one of which was headed wide by Shaun Roulston.
Jon Froggatt sent Chris Adam away in the 53rd minute but the Belper winger put the ball too close to the ‘keeper, than moments later he volleyed just past the far post from the corner of the six yard area.
Jon Froggatt brought a sigh of relief from the Belper supporters when he grabbed the lead back for the Nailers in the 57th minute, after Eric Graves had nudged the ball forward into his path and Belper’s top scorer steered the ball past Laurie Pearson.
Shaun Tuton couldn’t find the target two minutes later as he tried to lob the ‘keeper and the Nailers really needed to get a third goal as Loughborough hadn’t given up on the game and looked capable of scoring a second equaliser.
Chris Adam was denied by a finger tip save from Laurie Pearson in the 78th minute after a 30-yard run into the box, and from the resulting corner kick taken by Glyn Cotton, Jon Froggatt snapped up his 16th goal of the season with a close range finish.
Richard Adams blasted a great chance wide after Colin Marrison found him in space with a cross to the penalty spot.
Adams then stabbed a half chance wide as the Nailers searched for a fourth goal and Darryl Thomas should have scored in added-on time when he was put through but hit the legs of Laurie Pearson with his shot.
The result will be of far greater significance than the performance as the Nailers moved on to 16 games without defeat and further consolidated their place in the play off zone.
Belper Town: Chapman, Wright, Rushbury, Cotton, Roulston, Adams, Adam, Warne, Froggatt (Ward 83), Tuton (Thomas 76), Graves (Marrison 59). Unused subs: White, Ratcliffe.
Loughborough Dynamo: Pearson, Dale-Brown (Whitman 32), Young, Henton, Masters, Jarvis, Richards, Williams, Liversedge (Langham 76), Norris, Brennan. Unused subs: Wykes, Betts.
Referee: Ben Cooke (Atherstone)
Match Sponsor: Lubrizol, Belper
Man of the Match: Jon Froggatt