Nailers add to Hucknall woes
By David Laughlin
Belper Town secured an easy victory against bottom club Hucknall Town as Jon Froggatt’s hat-trick helped to keep the Nailers in third place in the league table.
Shaun Tuton celebrates his superb finish after his rocket shot had given the Nailers a two-goal advantage (Picture: Tim Harrison)
Glyn Cotton was rested for this game while Shaun Roulston was unavailable through illness so Michael Simpkins was drafted in as a substitute.
Hucknall’s problems had been well documented this season and Yellows’ manager Darren Kelk has had a tough time of it as he attempts to steer the Nottinghamshire side through to the end of the season.
Anything less than a five-goal margin of victory would have been seen as something of a failure judging by Hucknall’s last two games in which they had shipped in 14 goals against teams in the bottom half of the division, and this was by no means plain sailing for Peter Duffield’s men.
The Belper manager, celebrating his ‘Manager of the Month’ award for March must have felt as frustrated as any of the sizeable contingent of Nailers’ supporters who had made the short journey over the border into Nottinghamshire.
A hard uneven pitch played into the hands of the hosts and Belper never quite mastered it all afternoon.
Early nerves were settled when Jon Froggatt tucked away an easy chance after a 4th minute free kick fell to him but until the Nailers scored their second over half an hour later, it was a frustrating period in which Belper just couldn’t get into their rhythm.
Corey Hardy prevented Jon Froggatt getting a second goal on 16 minutes when he blocked Belper’s top goal scorer, not once, but twice as he tried to get his shot away.
Colin Marrison got up well to head a corner kick straight to Michael Yates, then after a period of scrappy play he put another header just wide, again from a corner kick.
Shaun Tuton’s pace on the ball had been Belper’s best threat in the first half and on 36 minutes he sped past Ryan Cheetham and struck a fearsome shot high into the net from 12 yards to put the Nailers in command.
Richard Adams rose unchallenged to head firmly past the ’keeper from a Simon Harrison corner in the 42nd minute and made the half-time interval a much more relaxed environment for both players and supporters.
Anthony Rowley gave the Nailers a rare moment of concern just before the referee blew for the interval with a low drive that Aaron Chapman needed two attempts at saving, but now it was all about how many the Nailers would get after the break.
Jeremy Moran’s trip on Colin Marrison presented Belper with an early opportunity to add to their total on 51 minutes and Jon Froggatt duly converted the resulting spot kick but almost immediately Daniel O’Donnell nearly reduced the arrears but put a good chance over the cross bar.
Simon Harrison put Shaun Tuton away but he couldn’t reproduce his earlier devastating finish and hit his shot just past the far post, then Harrison tried to catch the ‘keeper off his line with an effort from 35 yards that went just wide.
Jon Froggatt claimed his hat-trick with a neat close range finish in the 72nd minute and the chances kept on coming for Belper but they missed the opportunity to rack up a double figure score.
Simon Harrison hit the side netting after a slick move and flick on from Jon Froggatt then Daryll Thomas missed a great chance to get on the score sheet when he put a close range chance over the bar.
Eric Graves and Simon Harrison both missed good opportunities to score as the game entered added-on time but the points were already in the bag for the Nailers and with a positive goal difference of 50, they are unlikely to rue their missed opportunities at the season’s end.
Hucknall Town: Yates, Hardy, Cheethan, Stolworthy, Tyler, Hatfield, Rowley, Moran, Slawson, Dawson (Cheetham 74), O'Donnell
Belper Town: Chapman, Wright, Rushbury, Marrison, White, Adams, Harrison, Warne, Froggatt (Ward 80), Tuton (Thomas 80), Graves. Other subs: Cotton, Simpkins, Ratcliffe.
Referee: Joe Clark (Walsall)