Marrison penalty hands the points to Belper
The Nailers successfully secured another three points at the Seddon Stadium, claiming another single goal victory over Kidsgrove Athletic, writes Joe Malone.
Manager Peter Duffield made two changes to the side that beat Romulus a week earlier, with Chris Jones returning from injury and Luke Beatson starting at the heart of the defence for the injured Dan White.
As the weather continues to create problems for football, the Seddon Stadium pitch was looking worse for wear, with an uneven surface which had already cut up badly in the warm-up.
The opening fifteen minutes showed little or no opportunity for the game to open up, with both teams seeking to wrest early control.
The first chance of the game came for the Nailers’ captain Steve Warne after some delightful one touch football on the right hand side.
Simon Harrison cut the ball back to Chris Jones who ran beyond his marker. Jones then cut back and played a simple pass to Warne on the edge of the box, who cleverly played a first time one-two with Simon Harrison and fired in a shot from inside the area, which went a foot wide of the right hand post.
Chris Jones then had a chance of his own just short of the 20 minute mark when Phil Watt's intelligent pass out to the right to spread the pitch to Jones was taken in the fullback’s stride. Jones carried the ball ten yards and unleashed a strong effort from distance which forced Dan Read into making a fine save, stretching down low to his right hand post to tip the ball behind for a corner.
Kidsgrove then had their first opportunity after a poor clearance by Luke Beatson was cut out by Aiden Matranga, who fed a first time ball down the left hand side for Jordan Johnson the latch onto. However, his hurried shot was sliced so badly it finally went out for a throw-in.
Jon Froggatt produced a neat touch and turn past Nick Woods to create half a yard of space on the edge of the box. The Nailers striker then powered a low drive which was saved rather uneasily by the feet of Read, although doing enough to ensure the danger was cleared.
Jordan Johnson then had another effort for Grove in the 36th minute but, in a similar position to his first on the left hand side, he could only steer the ball wide of the near post.
Kidsgrove's best chance of the game came after 38 minutes when a corner from the right was drilled in by Kevin Street towards the far post, where Paul Taylor looped in a headed effort, which was tipped over the bar by Scott Low.
A final chance of the first half came again for the Nailers when a James Cullingworth free kick from deep was aimed into the box for Phil Watt to meet the ball, only for his header to clear the crossbar by two yards.
The second half showed more promise, as both teams created clearer chances and both sets of defences starting to open up.
Mark Ward dragged a shot wide of the near right hand post after finding space whilst Tom Wakefield shot just wide of the left hand post for the home side after cutting inside on his favourite left foot on the edge of the area.
Kidsgrove were then left rueing a missed opportunity one-on-one with the Nailers keeper on the 65th minute.
After a spell of pressure from Belper, Grove were able to break down the left hand side through Cohen Bramall who played a terrific cross-field pass for Wakefield on the right hand side. Wakefield’s first touch was right on the money, but Scott Low to come out well and narrow the angle, resulting in the Grove player poking the ball just wide, to the relief of the Belper back line.
A minute later Matt Haddrell had a free header on the six yard box which he could only place wide after the Belper defence had been left flat-footed inside the area.
And just when it seemed the game needed freshening up, the Nailers manager reacted well by making an inspired substitution.
Kieran Wells came on to replace Froggatt up front and with Wells first touch of the game he won his side a penalty after hitting a half volley inside the box which was stopped by the arm of Paul Taylor.
Colin Marrison stepped up in place of the substituted Froggatt and he made no mistake as he smashed the ball into the bottom left corner, sending the Dan Read the wrong way in the 70th minute.
The game was stretched for the final 20 minutes, but the Nailers did well to continue to force the pace and not sit back and invite needless pressure.
Wells was at it again when his persistent pressure on Taylor led to him winning the ball on the edge of area, feeding the ball into Mark Ward who could only strike the ball over from inside the area.
Kidsgrove had two good chances in the final five minutes, the first for Nick Woods after a corner from the right was played in and the number five volleyed the ball wide from eight yards, after Steve Warne did enough to put him off.
Finally, in the 90th minute, Kevin Street struck a sweet shot from the edge of the area after the ball dropped well for him, however the reliable Scott Low got down well to his near left post to hold on to the ball and see the game through for his side.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Dan Read, Ryan Grocott, Cohen Bramall (Wayne Corden 83), Michael Carr, Nick Woods, Paul Taylor, Kevin Street, Aiden Matranga, Jordan Johnson, Matt Haddrell, Tom Wakefield (Shane Reaney 73). Subs: Dereece Gardner, Jordan Wain, Darren Twigg.
Belper Town: Scott Low, Chris Jones, James Cullingworth (Liam Davis 63), Gareth Davies, Phil Watt, Luke Beatson, Simon Harrison, Steve Warne, Jon Froggatt (Kieran Wells 69), Mark Ward, Colin Marrison. Subs: Sam Duncum, Joe Flint, Michael Godber.
Referee: Mark Astley (Manchester)