Nailers through after penalty shoot out
By David Laughlin
Belper Town eventually came on top of this marathon replay to take their place in the next round where they face either Kendal Town or Cammell Laird.
The Nailers looked in control early in the second half after going 2-0 ahead, but Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division Leamington pulled things back to 2-2 setting off a series of events that made the tie a classic to watch.
A stiff breeze and the threat of rain gave Leamington the advantage in the first half and almost immediately Tom Berwick nearly punished the Nailers for a hesitant start with a pacy run and shot that fizzed past the far post.
But the Nailers showed up best in the opening stages and Karl Colley went close in the 8th minute when he headed a Simon Harrison corner kick just over the cross bar.
They struck first in the 11th minute after a scramble in the Brakes’ penalty forced the ball out to Andrew Siribour who gratefully snapped up the opportunity with a rising shot into the net.
Both sides played some good football without getting too close to their respective ‘keepers, although Ashley Longstaff made Kevin Sawyer think on his feet despite the effort going wide.
Joe Magunda had a virtual free header that he put wide on 23 minutes and the Brakes had a spell of domination in which they looked half a yard quicker to the ball although there was little end product for their efforts.
Simon Harrison gave Ashley Longstaff a shooting opportunity with a good cross close to the end of the half, but the ‘keeper made a smart save to ensure that the Nailers remained just one ahead at the break.
There was drama after less than 3 minutes of the second period when Simon Harrison put the Nailers in charge with a goal from just inside the penalty area after the Brakes had struggled to clear the ball effectively.
Soon after the game had restarted they could have really put the pressure on the home side when Ashley Longstaff ran through only to see his shot deflected on to the outside of the post.
On that miss the game turned, because Richard Batchelor triggered a comeback with a goal out of the blue on 54 minutes when he fired through a group of players into the far corner.
Ashley Longstaff put a 61st minute chance over the bar as the Nailers tried to regain their two goal advantage, but the momentum was swinging Leamington’s way and Stephan Morley’s tremendous effort, equally well saved by Aaron Chapman, only served to encourage the Brakes more.
Leamington’s comeback was complete when Richard Batchelor curled a 20-yard effort into the far corner although significantly as it turned out, his goal effort ended in an injury that prevented him taking any further part.
Having used all their substitutes the home side were down to 10 men but for the remainder of the game it was they who looked more likely to get the winning goal.
But with the weather worsening extra time loomed large and with neither team making a break through, an extra 30 minutes was inevitable.
The Nailers dominated all of the extra time period beginning with a superbly struck free kick from Mark Ward that Kevin Sawyer saw around the post, then Brakes’ skipper Jamie Hood severely damaged his side’s chances when he was red carded for two-footed tackle.
The tie was there for the taking but Belper just could not find a way through.
Greg Wright might have done better with a free header in the 100th minute but headed against the post and moments later, the ball bounced around the Brakes’ six-yard area like a pinball, but Leamington got bodies in the way of a four oor five goal attempts in the space of less than 10 seconds with ‘keeper Sawyer miraculously clawing the final effort away for a corner
It was the same story in the second period of extra time as Belper camped outside the Brakes’ penalty area but such was Leamington’s backs to the wall spirit, the Nailers were rebuffed time and time again.
The tie had to go into penalties and with the rain sweeping across the New Windmill ground Colin Marrison stepped up to convert the first penalty for Belper, cancelling out Tom Berwick’s initial spot kick
Mark Ward missed his, but with Joe Magunda and Stephan Morley putting theirs wide and Jordan Ball and Simon Harrison converting; Richard Adams stepped up to secure Belper’s passage into the next round.
Leamington: Sawyer, Mace, Morley, Magunda, Hood, Daly, Dodd (Johnson, 60), Chilton (Husband, 73), Berwick, Moore (Taylor, 73), Batchelor. Subs not used: Adkins, Quirke.
Belper Town: Chapman, Pride, Wright, Marrison, Adams, Colley, Harrison, Warne, Longstaff (Ward, 85), Siribour (Ball, 70), Mallon (Rushbury, 105). Subs not used: Simpkins, Ratcliffe.
Leamington: Richard Batchelor 54, 74
Belper Town: Andrew Siribour 11, Simon Harrison 48
Referee: Brian Durie (Tewkesbury)