Derbyshire Senior Cup – Quarter Final
Long Eaton United 2, Belper Town 4
Belper Town made it through to the semi finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup with the decisive goals coming in the 89th and 90th minutes of the game.
The Nailers needed to put last Saturday’s defeat at Cleethorpes well and truly behind them, and although the score line looked comfortable enough, Belper had to endure a testing second half examination by the hosts before they ran out eventual winners.
The Nailers had the best of the opening 30 minutes or so and their footballing ability shone through against their Midland Football League rivals. Long Eaton had triumphed over Mickleover Sports in the previous round by a similar score line to the one they lost by against Belper, so it needed to be a cautious approach from the Nailers.
Nathan Curtis struck a well timed volley just over the top after 8 minutes, and then soon afterwards George Milner hit his shot over the goal after embarking on a solo run.
Louis Wardle tested the ‘keeper with a fierce effort that Jason White plucked out of the air quite easily. The hosts began to settle into the game and press forward with use of the long ball in particular but their closest effort inside the first 30 minutes was a blocked free kick.
Niall Towle nearly got to a near post cross as Long Eaton began to cause the Nailers problems, so when Belper opened the scoring on 35 minutes, the goal was received gratefully. Harley Kozluk provided the opportunity with a nicely flighted free kick that fell to Alex Peterson just outside the six yard area. The Belper striker met the ball with a first time shot that was enough to beat White comprehensively.
The game looked as good as over two minutes later when George Milner curled a fine shot around the ‘keeper to score after Nathan Curtis had won the ball and provided the assist It seemed as though the Nailers needed only to keep their heads to get a semi final berth, but disaster struck in the 41st minute when debutant ‘keeper Declan Ogley and Riece Bertram got their wires crossed, with Bertram heading the ball over the advancing ‘keeper leaving Niall Towle the easiest tap in he will ever get.
The goal changed the tempo of the second half and after Nathan Curtis dazzled the host defenders with a mazy run and shot that curled wide; they took the game to Belper and had the majority of the play until the last few minutes. Belper’s prospects worsened after a fantastic shot from Jon D’Laryea sailed out of reach of Declan Ogley to put the hosts on level terms, and in truth the home team looked more and more likely to score again.
The Nailers hung on tenaciously at times and with penalties looming, they suddenly found the wherewithal to snatch the tie away from Long Eaton in the final stages. Alex Peterson grabbed his second goal of the game with a fine header that squeezed inside the far post beyond the ‘keepers’ reach, and then with the hosts stretched, Belper confirmed their passage to the next stage when Sam Wright glanced in a Charlie Dawes cross as the game entered added time.
The margin of defeat was perhaps a little unfair on Long Eaton in the final analysis, but the result will boost the confidence of the Nailers as more important challenges loom large.
Long Eaton United: White, Wilson, Head, D’Laryea, Rowley, Walker, Campbell (Taylor 72), Brittain (O’Brien), Kolodynski (Shaw 72), Towle, Dolan. Unused subs: Head, Cullingworth.
Belper Town: Ogley, Kozluk, Clark, Ridley, South (Wright 66), Bertram, Wardle, Robson (Dawes 57), Peterson, Milner (Swaine), Curtis. Unused sub: Gordon, Bryant.
Referee: Harry Jones