by Jack Drury
Despite the result looking tight, Belper’s 2-1 victory over Loughborough Dynamo was anything but.
Domination from the home side was evident from the first minute, as Belper threatened from the off, with Dynamo struggling to get out of their own area.
And when Craig Nelthorpe converted emphatically from the spot midway through the first half,
As the Nailer’s made it three wins from three in all competitions, Grant Black was delighted with his side’s performance as they moved closer to a play-off place.
He said “We dominated from start to finish, it should’ve been five, maybe six [nil]. I just think it was a classic performance by us, doing everything we’re good at and being hard to play against.”
A penalty from Craig Nelthorpe and a second half header by Nathan Curtis secured the three points, as the host’s held off a late resurgence by Loughborough.
Curtis’ 80th minute winner was his second in as many games, after opening the scoring against AFC Mansfield in the cup during the week, however he found himself coming off the bench despite the good form.
With his replacement Nelthorpe also making the scoresheet, the manager has yet another dilemma when picking his starting 11.
“When you look at our bench today there’s four or five players on that bench that could probably get into a lot of teams in this league which is brilliant.”
Curtis, who is the side’s top scorer this season, would have every right to wonder why he wasn’t becoming a regular in the Belper side, however Black has praised the 22 year old’s attitude to the decision.
“Nath Curtis has got a great attitude, he’s not done anything to be left out but it was a tactical decision and he’s obviously come on and reacted in a great way and it’s what we expect.”
As Belper look ahead to their next game away at Carlton Town, Black has another headache as he looks to tweak his lineup following the suspensions of Kai Hancock and Issac Assenso.
Hancock was sent off after two bookings during last Tuesday’s cup triumph against Mansfield, whereas Assenso picked up his fifth booking of the season against Loughborough.
Black said: “It’ll give the chance for two players to come in and take the chance they’ve been waiting for. Those two [Hancock and Assenso] are big to any team, and we’ve seen that today with both of their performances. They’ll both be misses, but I think we’ve got strength in numbers for other players to come in and do a job.”
Following the outstanding display at the weekend and with the midway point of the season approaching, Black was asked about the new goal for the end of the campaign.
“We’ve got one of the smallest budgets in the league but the players we’ve attracted now we feel we’ve got a strong enough team to compete, and really push to try and finish in that top 6. If you don’t aim for that then there’s not much point us being here.s