Lairds sweep Nailers away
By David Laughlin
Cammell Laird deservedly made progress in this feisty FA Trophy encounter at the expense of a Belper Town team that endured a frustrating afternoon in the face of some puzzling refereeing decisions.
Andrew Siribour sees his early effort fly just over the angle (Photo: Tim Harrison)
Peter Duffield included goalkeeper, David Ratcliffe and central defender, Karl Colley in the starting line-up after both players had dropped out of the midweek match at Newcastle, though illness.
Shaun Roulston, in particular, could count himself unlucky to find himself back on the substitutes bench alongside reserve striker, Blake Owen who was rewarded for his goal scoring exploits in the Nailers second string.
Shaun Tuton did not play at the express request of his parent club, Matlock Town, who still have FA Trophy aspirations of their own.
The Nailers made a purposeful opening and Simon Harrison was denied early on when he latched onto a deep cross from Andrew Siribour but visiting ‘keeper Kevin Atherton blocked his near post shot.
Ratcliffe caused a moment of anxiety when he spilled a shot under close attention from Jamie Henders but it was the Nailers who were asking most of the questions in the opening period.
Lairds’ Joe Holt provided a taste of what was to come with a low shot that only just missed the far post after veteran midfielder, Joe Gibiluru had found him with a delightful ball inside the full back.
Belper’s Andrew Siribour fired just over the angle after Mark Ward headed a Simon Harrison cross into his path and then Ward headed wide of the target after Siribour picked him out at the near post.
Lairds’ Joe Holt went equally close at the other end with a rising shot that few inches over the crossbar but the swirling wind was making good football difficult for both sets of players.
But, after a relatively even first half, Lairds took the lead in controversial circumstances just before the interval.
Belper central defender, Richard Adams lay prone on the turf with a head injury but referee Andrew Fox infuriated the home side by allowing play to continue and Jamie Henders was on hand to sweep the ball in from close range as Lairds took advantage of the lack of numbers in the home defence.
Despite Belper’s greater ball possession, Lairds were always dangerous on the break and they could have extended their lead on the hour mark when Mike Grogan had a free header from a corner, only to see his header strike the Belper crossbar.
Belper’s best moment came after 67 minutes when Simon Harrison forced his way through the Lairds defence but his shot agonisingly wide of the post when a square pass to Siribour would surely have left his fellow striker with an easy finish.
Lairds wrapped up the tie with seven minutes remaining when Aaron Bowen turned sharply inside the six yard box to fire an unstoppable low shot into the net.
Belper huffed and puffed as they tried to seek a consolation goal but they found the Lairds defence, with Lee Atherton in commanding form, in no mood to give anything away.
The post match comments may well have centred on the puzzling decisions of the match referee but in the end, there was no disguising that Lairds fully merited their passage into the next round with tricky winger Joe Holt giving the home defence plenty of problems throughout the game.
Belper Town: Ratcliffe, Pride, Wright, Marrison, Adams (Roulston 45), Colley, Harrison, Warne, Ward, Siribour (Owen 75), Rushbury (Stirrup 60). Other subs: Ozmen, Chapman.
Cammell Laird: Atherton K, Ferrigan (Potter 40), Dysart, Grogan, O’Brien, Atherton L, Couch, Bowen (Richards 89), Henders, Gibiluru, Holt (Butler 90). Other sub: Tagoe
Referee: Andrew Fox (Coventry)
Match Sponsor: Brown's Builders Merchants
Man of the Match: Simon Harrison