Gresley prove tough opponents
By David Laughlin
Belper Town scored an equaliser late in the game to force a draw against local rivals Gresley and extended their unbeaten run to 15 games.
Mark Ward fires home Belper's equalising goal to rescue a point for the Nailers (Picture: Tim Harrison)
Belper manager Peter Duffield selected an unchanged side as the Nailers attempted to maintain their charge towards a play-off place at the end of the season.
The visitors included former Belper players Mickey Lyons and Marc Strzyzewski in their line-up, and were looking to complete the double over the Nailers after they won the home fixture by 1-0 last October.
Former Belper manager Martin Rowe returned to Christchurch Meadow in the role of joint manager of the Moatmen.
Gresley put Belper under pressure early in the game and Michael Nottingham had Aaron Chapman scrambling across his goal to save a header from a 5th minute corner kick.
The game began to open up and the Nailers started to find opportunities going forward, however Gresley looked dangerous on the break and Belper had to be watchful.
Marc Goodfellow linked up well with Jordi Gough in the 18th minute and Aaron Chapman had to push Gough’s angled effort over the bar.
Simon Harrison’s free kick shortly afterwards was too hot for Gary Hateley to handle and Shaun Roulston toe poked the rebound just over the bar.
Shaun Tuton did well to get his cross over and Chris Adam managed to get his head to the ball and glanced it just beyond the far post although Jon Froggatt would have been better placed to make the most of the cross.
Mickey Lyons nearly created the opening goal on 39 minutes with a pacy run down the right, but with three Gresley players lined up to receive his cross, Aaron Chapman bravely intercepted.
Gresley took the lead just before the half time whistle when a clearance rebounded back to Jordan Nadat who turned and slotted the ball just inside the near post.
Belper needed to up their game as the second half got under way, but almost immediately suffered a blow when Simon Harrison had to leave the field with an ankle injury and was replaced by Colin Marrison.
Marc Goodfellow sent a free kick over the bar from less than 20 yards out and the Nailers started the second half defending their own goal.
Jon Froggatt had a great chance to get a header on target when Glyn Cotton found him with a free kick but he couldn’t get it on target.
Gresley’s Danny Holmes received a yellow card for kicking the ball away and became the fourth booking for the visitors in less than 15 minutes.
Andy Rushbury tried to float a shot over the ‘keeper and just missed the far angle but the Nailers were at least upping the tempo as they searched for an equaliser.
Shaun Tuton raced away in the 75th minute and his crossed caused confusion in the Gresley penalty area but after a couple of rebounds and blocks, they managed to get the ball away,
Jon Froggatt couldn’t connect with Andy Rushbury’s low cross soon afterwards and as Belper stepped up the pressure, Shaun Roulston headed over from a 73rd minute free kick.
The ball fell kindly for Mark Ward following a Glyn Cotton free kick in the 81st minute and the Belper striker took his opportunity well to grab the Nailers a deserved equaliser from 10 yards.
Jon Froggatt nearly claimed the points for Belper in added-on time with a tremendous shot from the corner of the penalty area but Gary Hateley was equal to it and made a magnificent save.
Hateley kept Gresley in the game again soon afterwards when he got to a Mark Ward free kick destined for the top corner and in the end the visitors were perhaps happier of the two sides to hear the final whistle.
Belper Town: Chapman, Wright, Rushbury, Cotton, Roulston, Adams, Harrison (Marrison 48), Warne, Froggatt, Tuton (Thomas 84), Adam (Ward 76). Other subs: Graves, Ratcliffe
Gresley: Hateley, Barratt, Gough, Strzyzewski, Nottingham, Holmes, Lyons (Hanslow 85), Rathbone, Nadat, Turville (Massingham 70), Goodfellow. Other subs. Cox, Bryant, Woods.
Referee: Sean Richardson (Huthwaite)
Match Sponsor: Ideal Heating
Man of the Match: Aaron Chapman