BetVictor Northern Premier S/East
Loughborough Dynamo 1, Belper Town 2
Belper Town demonstrated true inspirational qualities to overturn a half time deficit and defeat a talented Loughborough team by the odd goal in three. The Nailers extended their unbeaten run in the league this season to 10 games, but more importantly produced the kind of display that confirmed that they have the attributes to do really well this campaign.
Dynamo’s reputation as a very good home side preceded them and they proved that by playing quick and accurate football they were able to frequently threaten the Nailers particularly on the break. The Dynamo line up included former Belper favourite Alex Steadman while Belper had Kyle Bryant fit again, although Phil Watt was still out injured.
A surprise on the bench was the presence of Craig Nelthorpe who it was thought had played his last game for Belper, however he must have made his peace with Grant Black and here he was back in the Belper fold. Louis Wardle made his first start at right back while Kyle Bryant switched flanks to cover for Cameron Clark who is on holiday.
They are always tough encounters against Dynamo and this proved to be no different as the Nailers struggled to impose themselves in the early stages. The Nailers had the first effort on goal when Nathan Curtis provided a shooting opportunity for Charlie Dawes, however the shot didn’t trouble ‘keeper Jason Alexander.
Alex Steadman showed he had lost none of his pace when he ghosted past Kyle Bryant in the 6th minute with his shot flying narrowly over the bar. This heralded a positive spell for the hosts who looked the better side in this period and capped it off with a wonder free kick in the 16th minute.
Louis Wardle was forced to pull back Steadman as he looked to bear down on goal, and from the resulting dead ball situation Curtis Burrows bent the ball over everyone to fly in just under the angle of the far post. It was a blow for the Nailers who haven’t trailed in games many times this season, but the goal did kick start Belper’s rather pedestrian start to the game.
Nathan Curtis was denied a good penalty shout as he charged into the penalty area in the 18th minute, and as he was shaping up to shoot, he was tripped from behind. Unfortunately the referee couldn’t have had a clear view otherwise he surely would have pointed to the spot. The Nailers started to grow into the game and by putting pressure on Dynamo when they were in possession certainly stifled their ability to hurt Belper in the break.
Even so, the hosts might have added to their lead in the latter stages of the half when Rob Norris forced a save out of Ryan Musselwhite on 37 minute, and the Belper ‘keeper he was in the right place again when Steadman sped away two minutes later and drilled a fierce shot to the near post.
Grant Black unusually for him, made two changes after the break with Steve Ridley and Craig Nelthorpe joining the fray, no doubt with the intention of beefing up midfield and to add creativity. It was a much better display from the Nailers despite the hosts never being far away from causing trouble down both flanks.
A needless free kick gave Curtis Burrows the opportunity to repeat his first half heroics but this time Ryan Musselwhite parried his fiercely struck shot away from danger. Derry Robson hit a volley just wide on 52 minutes, just before Musselwhite provided a game changing moment with a fantastic double save by charging down two close range efforts.
The impetus was gradually changing in Belper’s favour and George Milner hit a rising shot just over the bar as Belper started to find gaps in the Dynamo defence. Then came the all important equaliser on 57 minutes when Nathan Curtis’ exquisite through ball was perfect for George Milner to latch on to and he managed to squeeze the ball past Alexander from the narrowest of angles.
The chances then starting coming for Belper who sensed victory, with Alex Peterson shooting wide after the ball had come to him with the ‘keeper out of position, then George Milner headed Danny South’s 65th minute over head kick over the top.
Loughborough still had the resolve to fight back and Ryan Musselwhite earned his corn again on 69 minutes with a great stop from Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson.
Alex Peterson had just headed over a Louis Wardle cross from the right when less than a minute later, the Belper striker sent fans delirious with a thumping header from a corner kick that bulged the net from 8 yards for his 7th goal of the season. From this point on the future of the 3 points was firmly in Belper’s hands and they completed another impressive away performance in style.
Belper’s ability to keep on going and show resolve in the face of adversity is proving to be a winning formula for Grant Black’s men who are now just three points away from league leaders Carlton Town.
Loughborough Dynamo: Alexander, Thorogood, Egginton, Munn, Scanlon, Sibson, Norcross, Burrows, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Norris, Steadman. Unused subs: Robinson, Young, Oki-William, Owusu-Napaul, Smith-Eccles.
Belper Town: Musselwhite, Wardle, Bryant (Nelthorpe 45), Robson, South, Bertram, Curtis, Wright, Peterson, Milner (Swaine 79), Dawes (Ridley 45). Unused sub: Gordon, Kozluk.
Referee: D Smith