Aaron caps 100th appearance with stunning strike
By David Laughlin
Belper Town completed a comfortable victory over a Chasetown side that ended the game with only nine men, while Aaron Pride’s stunning late strike was fitting on his 100th start for the Nailers.
Aaron Pride's stunning late strike leave Scholars goalkeeper Matt Sargeant flailing (Photo: Tim Harrison)
Belper made a welcome return to league football after a lengthy spell of inactivity with the visit of the Scholars to Christchurch Meadow, and Peter Duffield was able to field a strong side despite the absence of Greg Wright (hamstring) and Colin Marrison (suspension).
Belper were looking to consolidate their position in the play off zone while their visitor’s occupied 13th place in the league standings.
Nick Wellecombe tried to get a shot away in the 5th minute that was deflected away from goal then as Chasetown maintained their good start, Joel Purkiss volleyed a 20 yard effort just over the cross bar.
Shaun Tuton had a great chance to open the scoring in the 8th minute when he nipped in between two Chasetown defenders, however with the target in full view, he fired over the top.
However the Scholars had an even better chance in the 12th minute when Joe Purkiss curled an inviting cross into the penalty area where Theo Robinson headed over the cross bar from close in.
But it was Belper who struck the first goal of the afternoon in the 13th minute when Shaun Tuton turned the ball in from close range following a corner kick, and then Eric Graves went close to doubling Belper’s advantage 6 minutes later, when he curled a low shot just past the far post.
Steve Warne floated a cross over to Jon Froggatt moments later but he could only head the ball straight into the arms of Matt Sargeant, and soon afterwards he was inches away from connecting with a Shaun Tuton cross.
The Scholars might have equalised on the half hour mark when a corner kick dropped kindly for Tesfa Robinson and although he did his best to control his volley, the ball flew over the cross bar.
A goal mouth scramble should have yielded a second goal for the Nailers but the initial two or three efforts were blocked, and Eric Graves’ volley at the end of the sequence went straight to the ‘keeper.
Chasetown found themselves a man down in the 40th minute after an incident involving Joel Purkiss, a recent recruit from Rushall Olympic, and Aaron Pride.
Although there didn’t appear to be too much going on from either side the referee, after consulting with his assistant, showed Purkiss a red card much to the surprise of nearly everyone in the ground.
Unfortunately Belper couldn’t get a second goal before half time that would have cemented their first half performance and this was the priority for the second period.
Jon Froggatt miss kicked after Glyn Cotton had broken through with a strong run through the Scholar’s defence in the 50th minute and when Shaun Tuton finally got the ball in the net he was adjudged to be offside.
Jon Froggatt saw a cross land on top of the cross bar and soon afterwards Mark Ward replaced Shaun Tuton, as manager Peter Duffield looked to vary his attacking options.
The Nailers were reminded that the game wasn’t won yet when Nick Wellecombe turned and struck the side of the upright with a low shot from 15 yards.
Belper were struggling to make an impression during the middle part of the half but the game turned Belper’s way in the 67th minute when Mark Ward was clearly held back inside the penalty area by Richard Teesdale, who was sent off for the offence.
Jon Froggatt stepped up to convert the spot kick to give the Nailers a degree of comfort just at a time when they badly needed a boost.
It continued to be a frustrating game for the supporters as a succession of promising opportunities and situations came to nothing, then Chasetown’s Wellecombe got in on the act when he was left with a clear shot on goal in the 82nd minute and screwed his shot wide.
Even with nine men, the visitors had some good spells on the ball and had they finished more clinically, this would have been a much tougher contest for the Nailers, however Aaron Pride clinched victory for Belper with a stunning 22 yard shot that flew into the top corner of the net in the 86th minute, and the Nailers were able to celebrate another important home victory.
Belper Town: Chapman, Pride, Rushbury, Cotton, Roulston, Adams (Millns 75), Harrison, Warne, Froggatt, Tuton (Ward 57), Graves (Adam 62). Unused subs: Thomas, Ratcliffe.
Chasetown: Sargeant, Farmer (Ashton 86), Robinson, Slater, Bate, Teesdale, Brown (Butler 79), Westwood, Wellecombe, Purkiss, Robinson (Gould 75). Unused subs: Branch, Saunders.
Referee: Tommy Hollidge (Leicester)
Match Sponsors: Lubrizol, Belper
Man of the Match: Shaun Roulston