Belper Town 1-3 Brighouse Town
Sat 5th Jan 15:00 – The Evo-Stik League – East Division
Belper suffer home defeat at hands of Brighouse
By Richard Phelps
Belper play well but their opponents are the better side, as they record a convincing 1-3 away victory.
The two teams started the match well and both went close to breaking the deadlock early on in the encounter.
With a quarter of an hour gone, Brighouse left-back Sam Wright, shot just wide, into the side netting from a tight angle.
While two minutes later, Belper debutant Anthony Mackie’s left-footed finish, from a Nathan Curtis pull-back, was ruled out for offside.
In the end, it was the visitors who did indeed, take the lead, in the 20th minute. Aaron Martin finished coolly into the bottom right corner, after a lay-off from Gabriel Johnson.
The hosts weren’t behind for long though, as less than five minutes later, Piteu Crouz’s low cross hit Brighouse defender Kurt Harris, who was unable to do anything about the ball deflecting off him into his own net, to give Belper an equaliser.
They could have gone in front in the 28th minute, when George Milner played Mackie in, but the new man shot straight at Brighouse goalkeeper, Matt Smith.
Smith made another fine save, ten minutes later. This time, he saved a powerful, stinging shot from Crouz.
At the other end, Martin nearly grabbed his second of the game, just before half-time, when his flicked header landed on top of the crossbar before bouncing over.
So, the sides went in level at the break following an entertaining, opening 45 minutes with lots of opportunities.
The chances kept coming thick and fast, after the restart, with Derry Robson nearly giving the Nailers the lead, with an acrobatic effort.
In the 54th minute, the away outfit saw Zephaniah Thomas’ shot blocked off the line as they began to pile the pressure on.
A minute later, Belper keeper and the club’s Player of the Month for December, Leigh Overton, tipped a superb volley from Martin over the bar.
However, from the subsequent corner, Adam Field, the Brighouse captain, headed home to restore his team’s one-goal advantage.
Overton denied Martin again in the 61st minute, after the striker had been played in and was through on goal.
With just under 25 minutes remaining, another Crouz cross nearly fell to a yellow shirt but Smith smothered the ball.
In the 69th minute, Martin finally did, get his second goal of the match. The striker pounced on an error from Overton and rolled his shot into the net to all but seal the win for Brighouse
After 74 minutes, Alex Peterson missed a golden chance from point-blank range which would have gotten his side back into it. The Belper captain’s header, went agonisingly wide of the post from a Craig Nelthorpe cross.
With little over ten minutes to go, Martin nearly completed his hat-trick, but Nailers substitute, Jake Sturgess, tackled him excellently before the number nine could get his shot away.
This proved to be the final, real chance and the match ended 1-3 to Brighouse, who will be happy with the manner of their triumph.
They stay 2nd in the league table and are at home to Mansfield next Saturday, while Belper drop to 7th on goal difference, and travel to Pontefract Collieries on the same day.
Belper Town: Overton, Assenso, Nelthorpe, Robson, Colbear (Sturgess 73), Peterson © (Thompson 81), Mackie (Duggan 81), Gordon, Curtis, Milner, Crouz.
Brighouse Town: Smith, Field ©, Wright, Jones (Heeley 84), Harris, Hurtley, Robinson (Jenkinson 84), Haigh, Martin, Johnson, Thomas (Donovan 65).
Referee: Thomas Wainman