Robins send Nailers crashing out of cup
By David Laughlin
Belper Town were eliminated from the FA Cup after finishing second best to an Ilkeston side who won emphatically at a rain-soaked Christchurch Meadow.
Manager Peter Duffield retained Ashley Longstaff and Colin Marrison in the starting lineup for this Second Qualifying Round replay against the Robins, while Mark Ward and Ryan Mallon were named amongst the substitutes.
Ilkeston’s line-up included two former Belper players in striker Daryll Thomas and Russ Peel.
Steady rain for most of the day made for a very slippery surface which quickened the speed of the ball as the game started at a fast pace.
Both sides showed attacking intent in the early minutes but defences coped well as neither side wanted to be the first to concede in this highly charged replay.
However the Nailers drew first blood in the 13th minute when Ashley Longstaff got on the end of a long free kick from Simon Harrison and ran the ball in at the far post.
But Belper’s lead didn’t last long because from an 18th minute corner kick Aaron Chapman’s attempted clearance rebounded off Joe Maguire and back into the goal for an Ilkeston equaliser.
The Robins took the lead on 24 minutes after Michael Simpkins who had replaced Karl Colley after only 16 minutes, gave the ball away and moments later James Reid had returned the ball over Simpkins for Aaron Hooton to head past Aaron Chapman.
The game began to slip away from Belper in the 24th minute when Matt Richards hit the ball firmly into the goal after the Nailers had once again failed to clear their lines properly.
After feeling the pressure for 20 minutes or so the Nailers came back into in the latter stages of the half and created problems for Ilkeston with some tricky-to-defend corner kicks.
Jordan Ball looked set to reduce the arrears on 40 minutes when he rounded the ‘keeper, but he pushed the ball too far in front of him and the chance was lost.
The Nailers looked out of it just before the break when Daryll Thomas turned and drilled the ball just inside the far post although it was helped over the line by Greg Wright who tried to clear it off the line.
The Nailers needed something quickly if they harboured any hopes of a comeback but with the rain pouring down the task was beginning to look far greater than they could handle as the visitors found the conditions to their liking.
Simon Harrison forced Ashley Timms into a save at the foot of the post on 55 minutes, although Jack Watts had a chance to put the Nailers out of sight in the 68th minute but struck his shot straight at Aaron Chapman.
As the rain intensified, Colin Marrison had a presentable opportunity and could only put his shot over the cross bar, but the tie was effectively over for the Nailers when Dion Chambers threaded a 64th minute ground shot through a group of players and into the far corner.
The Nailers swapped Mark Ward for Ashley Longstaff as a last throw of the dice but they didn’t look capable of mounting a fight back at this stage of the game, and in truth it was the visitors looked more likely to score again.
Aaron Chapman made a fine stop from Jack Watts in added on time but by now the Nailers were a well-beaten side and could have few complaints about the outcome.
Belper Town: Chapman, Pride, Wright, Leonard (Mallon 64), Adams, Colley (Simpkins 16), Harrison, Colley, Harrison, Warne, Longstaff (Ward 75), Ball, Marrison. Unused subs: Rushbury, Roulston, Froggatt, Ratcliffe.
Ilkeston FC: Timms, Wilcox, Peel, Chambers, Partridge, Maguire, Watts, Richards, Hooton (Ford 83), Thomas (Siribour 77), Reid (Pearson 88). Unused subs: Osbourne, McCall, Martin
Referee: Christopher Ward (Worksop)
Match Sponsor: Belper Town Operations Committee.
Man of the Match: Steve Warne