Nailers edge 7 goal thriller to make Trophy progress
By David Laughlin
Belper Town did just enough to make it through to the next round of the FA Trophy against a Dynamo side that refused to give up in the second half.
Jordan Ball heads in Belper's second goal after a cross from Mark Ward (Photo: Tim Harrison)
After the Nailers midweek success over Matlock Town, manager Peter Duffield didn’t see any reason to change his starting line up and went with the same eleven that brushed aside the Gladiators in last Tuesday’s replay.
This was a game where Belper looked potent going forward but struggled on occasions in defence where Loughborough’s quick passing style made them look a little uncomfortable.
But in Jordan Ball they have a gem of a striker who gets more impressive each time he turns out for the Nailers.
In only the 6th minute Ryan Mallon made space for a cross and found Ball who sent Kahil Mann-Kler sprawling to his left to save at the second attempt.
The Doncaster Rovers loanee was involved soon afterwards when he set up Richard Stirrup for a shot in the 8th minute but his effort bent away from the target.
Ball was involved again two minutes later when he carved out a shooting opportunity from 15 yards and only a desperate one-handed save from the Dynamo ‘keeper kept the scores level.
Loughborough began to get in the game more after 15 minutes or so and Louis Hamilton nearly turned the ball in at the near post after a demonstration of the fleet footed play that the home side would produce more frequently as the contest wore on.
Karl Colley gave the Nailers the lead on 17 minutes when he rose to power a Simon Harrison free kick well wide of the ‘keeper, although Dynamo were soon on level terms when a quickly taken corner kick seemed to take Aaron Chapman unawares and Jake Betts forced the ball in from close range.
The equaliser seemed to stir the Nailers into action and for the remainder of the half were the better side.
Mark Ward hit a good shot on the turn on 26 minutes and again Kahil Mann-Kler got down well to make the save, then the Nailers scored a peach of a goal two minutes later when Ward ran into space to accept Aaron Pride’s pass and after turning the defender, delivered a perfect cross for Jordan Ball to nod down into the goal.
Ball could have made it 3-1 in the 36th minute when he ghosted in to head a Ryan Mallon cross just over the bar, and although the Nailers just about deserved their half time lead, they found it much tougher after the break.
Dynamo stepped up their game from the kick off and forced the Nailers into conceding a handful of free kicks all of which they struggled to get clear without the ball coming straight back at them.
There was always a chance on the breakaway though for Belper and only a superb interception by Sam Strong prevented Jordan Ball extending Belper’s lead following a teasing Aaron Pride cross on 52 minutes.
Dave Blenkinsopp nipped in to nod the ball over the top as the Nailers struggled to contain a very lively Dynamo midfield and wide players, but when Belper had the chance to go forward they looked very dangerous, and Ryan Mallon might have been disappointed with an angled drive after a Richard Adams’ long throw came out to him.
A clash with Dave Blenkinsopp on 70 minutes saw Aaron Chapman helped off the pitch with a knee injury to be replaced by Dave Ratcliffe, and he had only been on the pitch three minutes when Louis Hamilton scored from close range.
However Belper were back in front after another well worked goal in the 76th minute started by Aaron Pride who found Jordan Ball and it was his inch-perfect cross that fell for Richard Stirrup who headed past the ‘keeper.
Belper thought they had wrapped it up in the 80th minute after Jordan Ball had shown great composure before firing past Kahil Mann-Kler, but there was to be late drama when Richard Stirrup conceded a penalty with 6 minutes to go and Dave Blenkinsopp converted the spot kick to keep the tie live for Dynamo.
However the Nailers managed to keep their concentration and composure long enough to run the clock down and secure their passage into the next round.
Loughborough Dynamo: Mann-Kler, Sibson, Young (Dale-Brown 82), Wykes, Gibbons, Betts, Richards, Henton, Blenkinsopp (Langham 86), Brennan, Hamilton (Lester 82). Unused subs: Norris, Jarvis.
Belper Town: Chapman (Ratcliffe 70), Pride, Wright, Stirrup, Adams, Harrison (Marrison 88), Colley, Warne, Ward (Longstaff 75), Ball, Mallon. Unused subs: Leonard, Simpkins.
Referee: Stuart Richardson (Mansfield Woodhouse)