Belper Town 3-1 Farsley Celtic
Integro League: Semi-finals
By Jack Drury
Belper Town exit the Integro League cup with their heads held high following a hard fought 3-1 defeat at Farsley Celtic in the semi-finals.
The Nailers fought superbly with 10 men for more than half the game, with Danny South cancelling out Luke Parkin’s opener for the hosts.
Farsley, who sit top of the division above, restored their lead through Jimmy Spencer, before a controversial penalty decision allowed Ben Atkinson to kill the game with seconds to play from the spot.
The task was always a big one for Belper, with the conditions creating a new challenge especially in the first half for the Nailers at Thostle Nest.
Despite an even start with very few chances created, it was the hosts who took the lead in this semi-final, with a long ball over the top catching out Belper’s back line allowing Parkin the opportunity to slot home after half an hour.
Sebastian Malkowski made a number of good saves in the Belper goal, as the Nailers restricted Farsley to mostly long range efforts for the rest of the half.
Three minutes before half time, the challenge got even tougher for the visitors, as Craig Nelthorpe was sent off for a late challenge as Farsley looked to clear the ball.
Despite this, Belper came out strong in the second half, equalising after just over a minute, as Danny Gordon’s corner was volleyed home brilliantly by Danny South, as the big man kept his fine goal scoring run going.
The match remained even until another Farsley counter attack caught out the Nailers, who had defended resiliently throughout the tie.
It was Spencer this time finding the net, as he curled an effort past Malkowski into the bottom corner to restore the hosts’ lead.
Despite another setback, Belper looked again to get back into the game. The introduction of Piteu Crouz at half time positively impacted the side, as they switched from five at the back to a system similar to their normal style.
With ten minutes to go, the winger fired wide after trademark clever wing play, this time cutting in from the left hand side.
Nathan Curtis headed wide three minutes from time, before a dramatic ending at Thostle Nest.
In added time, a goalmouth scramble took place in Farsley’s six yard box, with an effort being cleared off the line as Belper searched for the equaliser.
With this attack, the Nailers were exposed at the back and the hosts’ broke, themselves having an effort hit the post before they were awarded a soft penalty for a challenge following a Farsley shot.
Atkinson made no mistake from the spot, as Belper bowed out of the Integro League cup at the Semi-Final stage.
The attention for Belper must now turn to the league, as they visit Loughborough this weekend in a bid to keep their play-off hopes alive.