“I thought he was immense, he won his headers, he was big, he was strong, and he led today, it was a good captain’s performance from him”
South was a constant thorn in the Carlton defence throughout the afternoon and his strong performance saw Black heap praise on his talismanic skipper.
He said: “I thought he was immense, he won his headers, he was big, he was strong, and he led today, it was a good captain’s performance from him.”
The 26-year-old has spent much of the season operating at centre back and even began the second half back in his more familiar role. Black was quick to emphasise the importance of his “versatility” to the Nailers.
He explained: “His versatility is massive, it’s no secret that him not playing in January we lost a lot of points because we missed him. The fact that he can drop in there or up top.”
Saturday’s victory ensured that Belper returned to winning ways for the first time since New Year’s Day.
First half goals from Alfred Thompson and George Milner helped the Nailers move up to eighth and back into the top half of the Evo Stik East Division.
Black was pleased with the three points, he said: “The three points are massively important, that was obviously the main aim at the start of the game. If we could have polished it off with a performance, then that’s an extra bonus.
“We know what Carlton are about, they’re big and physical, they hang in games and they’re not easily turned over.
“For me it was massively important that we concentrated today, and the three points were the most important thing to kick us back into a top seven, top eight place.”
Despite his relief at a long overdue league success, Black was still left slightly frustrated at aspects of his side’s display.
He said: “I thought at times there was the best and worst of us today, we created countless chances, if the finishing had been better it could have been more comfortable.”
Belper were in control for large majorities of the encounter but were made to sweat when Aaron Opoku netted a stoppage time consolation for the visitors.
The Nailers have failed to keep a clean sheet in the league since a 2-0 victory at Frickley Athletic on November 17th.
Black was disappointed at his team’s lack of game management in the closing stages of the game, he said: “We’ve just had a few choice words in there with certain individuals, not managing the game right in the last couple of minutes, doing things that they should know better. There were choice words and they are aware that it won’t be happening again.
“It’s frustrating not to get that clean sheet because obviously our goalkeeper played his first game. I think that’s the only disappointment today.”
Centre back Sam Colbear was substituted at half time and Black confirmed that it was due to injury.
He offered an update on his condition: “He potentially might have broken his ribs, I think he got a stud to the ribs and he was struggling with his breathing.
“At the end of the day it’s a game of football and his health is more important, so we made the decision to get him off and make that change.”
Belper next travel to Cambridgeshire to face mid-table Wisbech Town, as they look to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Updated 14:02 - 10 Feb 2019 by David Laughlin