BetVictor Northern Premier S/East
Lincoln United 0, Belper Town 2
Belper Town won their first league fixture at Lincoln United since February 2012 to move within 5 points of top spot with plenty of games in hand over their rivals.
Despite Phil Watt and Kyle Bryant being unavailable to start this game, the Nailers demonstrated what it takes to establish themselves as genuine promotion candidates. Danny Gordon came in at right back while Riece Bertram continued to partner Danny South in the back four; Sam Wright, George Milner and Charlie Dawes retained their places in the starting eleven.
Belper looked to gain the initiative straight from the whistle but were nearly caught out by a swift break from the hosts and were grateful when Danny North failed to capitalise on a difficult opportunity. The Nailers learned their lesson from this and despite the Whites direct approach and the searching clearances from their ‘keeper Tom Nicholson, they restricted Lincoln to single figure opportunities.
Alex Peterson almost sent Nathan Curtis away in the 5th minute but the ball hit Curtis on the back which impeded his progress towards goal, however a better opportunity fell to Derry Robson minutes later after Danny South picked him out in an unmarked position but Robson couldn’t find accuracy with the header.
Whites skipper Matt Wilson hauled down Danny South in the penalty area on 11 minutes and the referee awarded a spot kick. With regular penalty taker Craig Nelthorpe now playing his football elsewhere Charlie Dawes accepted the responsibility, and unfortunately his penalty kick came back off the foot of the upright.
Danny South was a whisker away from scoring with a stooping header from a Danny Gordon corner kick on 22 minutes, however the game became scrappy for long spells after this with neither side creating much in front of goal until the 41st minute when after some good Belper approach play, Alex Peterson shot wide of the target.
The second period started well for Belper and Peterson was instrumental in creating an excellent chance for Derry Robson whose shot from 18 yards went wide of the target.
The game sparked into life in the 48th minute when Nathan Curtis scored a super goal after swerving past 3 defenders and striking a low drive beyond the reach of the Whites’ ‘keeper to give the Nailers a crucial advantage.
Belper nearly scored again as the hosts were still recovering from the shock of conceding Curtis’s stunning goal, however Charlie Dawes low strike from just inside the area ricocheted off the ‘keeper and back off a defender to rest in Tom Nicholson’s hands.
Danny South bulged the side netting in the 64th minute after a long throw from George Milner but the angle was too acute for the Belper skipper.
The game opened up as the hosts were forced to commit more players in forward positions, and in the 65th minute Belper won the ball back and Derry Robson ran through the Whites’ back line, and with just the ‘keeper to beat he struck his shot too close to Nicholson who parried the ball away.
Danny North had the best of Lincoln’s chances in the 78th minute but found Ryan Musselwhite in great form as he dived to his left to push the ball away, and soon afterwards, Nathan Curtis was taunting the hosts with another penetrating run, although his driven cross into the six yard area was intercepted by a Lincoln defender.
Steve Ridley’s introduction as a substitute led to the decisive goal in the 83rd minute.
He had already delivered a penetrating corner kick that Lincoln had struggled to clear, and when the ball was returned to him, he picked out Alex Peterson at the far post with a perfect cross, and the Belper striker added to his recent goal scoring feats by nodding the ball over the line to secure a victory for the Nailers.
The Nailers knack of winning difficult games, particularly away from home will be a key factor if they have ambitions for a play off place, or even automatic promotion this season.
Lincoln United: Nicholson, West, Smith, Wilson (Pissi 79), Turnbull, Jacklin (Tingle 89), Curran, Goddard, North, Hollingsworth (Burdett 62), Wightwick. Unused subs: Horton, Jarman.
Belper Town: Musselwhite, Gordon (Wardle 68), Clark, Robson (Ridley 73), South, Bertram, Curtis, Wright, Peterson, Milner (Swaine 81), Dawes. Unused sub: Waldram, Watt.
Referee: Wayne Cooper