BetVictor Northern Premier S/East
Belper Town 5, Market Drayton Town 2
Belper Town completed their first double of the season with this comfortable victory over Market Drayton Town at the Raygar Stadium last Saturday.
The Nailers retained the same starting eleven that won against Carlton the previous week while the return of Martyn Davies as manager of the visitors had shown an improvement in performances and results, despite remaining second bottom in the league table.
Belper held the upper hand for most of this game and Market Drayton showed an aptitude for attractive football at times, and their overall performance belied their lowly position in the league. Nathan Curtis crossed for Alex Peterson to head the ball in after only 5 minutes but the referee assistant’s flag cancelled out the effort for offside
Sam Wright ran into the box and his cross shot went over the bar in the 10th minute and with the Nailers in the ascendancy they emphasised their superiority by taking the lead on 13 minutes. Evan Garnett collected Nathan Curtis’s pass to speed through the visitors’ defence, and calmly tucked the ball away to give the Nailers a deserved advantage.
Garnett nearly managed to score at the far post in the 29th minute, and then he turned provider on 37 minutes when he found Nathan Curtis out wide and the Belper striker worked his way into the penalty area before scoring a brilliant goal with a low shot into the far corner. The Nailers created more half chances before the break with Derry Robson just failing to turn in Danny South’s header, and Garnett had a shot blocked before Riece Bertram tested Ashley Rawlins with a swerving effort from 22 yards.
Alex Peterson shot just wide as the Nailers started the second half as they had finished the first, and Derry Robson saw his 51st minute cross shot just miss the far post. However the Nailers tightened their grip on the game in the 56th minute when Evan Garnett capitalised on some indecisiveness in the visitors’ six yard box and he tucked away his second goal of the game.
He could have wrapped up his hat trick 2 minutes later when he missed a presentable opportunity, and with Market Drayton getting more involved in the game as the half progressed, there was a sense of anxiety in the ground when Conner Russo reduced the arrears with an excellently taken goal that took the Nailers’ defence by surprise on the hour mark.
Fortunately Belper banished any fears when Danny Gordon scored a superb free kick a minute later to restore the 3 goal difference.
Alex Peterson relaxed the crowd completely when he stooped to head Belper’s 5th goal in the 77th minute, but an increasingly dangerous Market Drayton kept on moving forward and they were rewarded in the 80th minute when the impressive Russo teed up Joe Thomas whose sizzling drive flew past Ryan Musselwhite and reduced the difference in the score back to 3 goals.
Thomas forced a great stop from Musselwhite in the 83 minutes although substitute George Milner was close to getting a 6th goal near the end of the game after a strong run into the box. Despite the resistance of the visitors Belper were comfortable winners and gave their supporters an early Christmas present in their last home fixture of the season, and the decade.
Belper Town: Musselwhite, Kozluk, Clark, Robson, South, Bertram, Gordon, Wright (Ridley 55), Peterson, Garnett (Milner 63), Curtis (Wardle 76). Unused subs: Dawes, Bryant.
Market Drayton Town: Rawlings, Russo, Buxton (Hunter79), Mc Farlane, Hill, Hughes, Green-Birch, Stanton, Aziamale (Mason 71), Thomas, Tindall-Bennett. Unused subs: Stevens
Referee: Jamie Conde