BetVictor Northern Premier S/East
Wisbech Town 1, Belper Town 2
Alex Peterson struck twice to give Belper Town a hard earned victory against a resilient Wisbech Town at the Fenland Stadium last Saturday afternoon.
After returning to winning ways at Buxton in midweek, the Nailers were always going to be favourites against the Fenmen who occupied third bottom place in the league table.
Sam Wright, George Milner and Charlie Dawes were given starts after featuring prominently at the Silverlands last Tuesday evening, and with Phil Watt out with a hamstring injury the Nailers’ line up had a different look about it. A minute’s silence was held in respect of Remembrance Sunday, and there was also a minute’s applause for three people closely associated with the home club who had passed away recently.
The Nailers made their customary high energy start to the game despite the playing surface being in stark contrast to that experienced at Buxton where the artificial surface suited Belper’s playing style. Heavy rains had made the pitch heavy although perfectly playable and as is always the case, it was the same for both sides.
The Nailers set out their marker as early as the 4th minute when a George Milner cross was nodded on by Danny South, and Alex Peterson was on hand to drill the ball past Sam Wilson in the Fenmen’s goal. Belper dominated play for the first 20 minutes and the hosts had all on to restrict the Nailers to a single goal during this period.
Charlie Dawes created two similar opportunities in as many minutes by cutting inside and unleashing well struck shots, however both efforts lacked accuracy. Riece Bertram forced the Fenmen’s ‘keeper in to a diving save in the 34th minute, after firing a first time effort from 15 yards. Bertram was on target a second time 5 minutes later and this time Sam Wilson’s save was routine.
There were signs that Wisbech were digging in and repelling Belper attacks more effectively although George Milner wasted a good shooting opportunity in the 36th minute with a rising effort from just outside the penalty area. The Nailers added to their lead on 42 minutes with some quick thinking that left the Fenmen wide open at the back. Danny South’s pass through the heart of the Wisbech rearguard found Milner in space and he unselfishly squared the ball to Alex Peterson who made the most of the opportunity and hit a low shot wide of the ‘keeper.
Undeterred by this setback, the hosts started to get things together as the first half drew to its close and Charley Sanders had a fierce shot well saved by Ryan Musselwhite, although this was only a taster of what was to come after the break.
The considerable Belper support that had made the 200 mile round trip might have expected the Nailers to go on and score 4 or 5 goals, and although there were opportunities to make the game safe, they just couldn’t find the finishing touch required.
Riece Bertram struck a decent half volley just wide on 47 minutes, and the Fenmen increasingly looked to unsettle Belper by increasing their intensity and plenty of searching long balls, The hosts put a different complexion on the game in the 65th minute and after Belper failed to clear the ball properly, it fell to substitute Declan Rodgers to reduce the arrears with a fine shot just inside the post.
Belper needed a third goal to kill the game off and when Nathan Curtis volleyed home from close range in the 75th minute, Nailers’ supporters thought they had got it. Unfortunately the referee’s assistant’s flag was raised and the effort was disallowed for offside. Belper’s best chance to clinch the three points came in the 84th minute when Derry Robson ran clear with just the ‘keeper to beat, however Sam Wilson pulled off a great save to deny him.
The Nailers dug in to keep out the home team who sensed that a point was within their grasp, but despite their valiant efforts in the final stages the Fenmen couldn’t find a way through; Declan Rodgers’ dipping shot was the closest they came to denying the Nailers’ their 6th win of the season.
Wisbech Town: Wilson, Whyatt, Green, Kaye, Adeyemi, Marshall (Shackleton 87), Draper, Setchell, Sanders, Jaquite (Rogers 45), Nassanculo (Maddison 75).
Belper Town: Musselwhite, Bryant, Clark, Wright, South, Bertram, Curtis, Robson (Gordon 87), Peterson, Milner, Dawes (Ridley 67). Unused sub: Swaine, Waldram, Ogley.
Referee: Stuart Cheek