BetVictor Northern Premier S/East
Belper Town 2, Spalding United 2
Belper Town needed a late goal from substitute Alex Peterson to salvage a point against Spalding at the Raygar Stadium last Saturday.
Another large crowd flocked to the Raygar in the hope of seeing a full on Nailers display but on this occasion Belper had an off day by their standards, and the visitors were only five minutes away from taking all three points until Peterson intervened. The Tulips’ playing record this season shows them to be in good form away from the Sir John Halley Stadium, and they nearly a punished a below par Belper Town side.
Top scorer Alex Peterson was surprisingly named as a substitute with Evan Garnett starting alongside George Milner, however this approach didn’t really work for the Nailers and both were replaced early in the second half. The visitors’ starting line up included Jamie Jackson who spent a short time with the Nailers a few seasons back.
The Nailers went close to scoring inside the first minute when Nathan Curtis put over a great cross to the back post where George Milner just missed connecting with the ball by a matter of inches. It was in fact a decent start for Belper who prodded and probed the Tulips’ defence while trying to find a way through. Both teams failed to create a worthwhile chance until the 31st minute when Spalding took advantage of some questionable marking and Lewis Brownhill sent a looping header into the far corner with Ryan Musselwhite unable to do anything about it.
The Nailers showed much more urgency for the remainder of the half and Derry Robson would have wished to have made a better connection with a Nathan Curtis cross in the 34th minute. However the Nailers were back on level terms in the 39th minute after a corner kick produced an almighty goal mouth scramble and Phil Watt blasted the ball home from 8 yards out.
Nathan Curtis did well to create another crossing opportunity shortly afterwards but the ball across the six yard area was missed by everyone. The second period started badly for the Nailers who found themselves under pressure from the restart, and with the half barely 5 minutes old Lewis Brownhill nipped in to blast a loose ball past Musselwhite leaving the Nailers looking deflated.
Substitutions were made immediately to try and kick start a reaction from Belper who just flat lined for long periods leaving Spalding to believe that victory was in sight.
Phil Watt had a heading opportunity from a 63rd minute corner kick but he sent the ball over the crossbar, and Belper could have easily conceded a third if it wasn’t for Ryan Musselwhite who made a tremendous double save from Scott Floyd who had escaped Belper’s attention.
With very little creativity coming from the Nailers it was hard to see how the situation could be rescued but when Derry Robson’s 84th minute shot had to be touched over by Alex Smith, it proved to be a light bulb moment. Belper started to string passes together and the Spalding defenders were shaken out of their comfort zone on 85 minutes by giving Alex Peterson the time to direct his first time shot speedily into the corner of the goal whereupon jubilant celebrations naturally ensued.
There were fleeting thoughts that the Nailers could turn things around completely in the final minutes which might have been asking to much, and in any case Ryan Musselwhite prevented a late Tulips winner with a brilliant diving save to deny Lewis Brownhill his hat-trick. The Nailers extended their unbeaten run to 8 league games, however two consecutive draws have seen them slip further behind leaders Leek Town and second placed Stamford.
Belper Town: Musselwhite, Bryant, Clark (Wright 64), Bertram, South, Watt, Gordon, Robson, Garnett (Peterson 50), Milner (Dawes 50), Curtis. Unused subs: Ridley, Kozluk,
Spalding United: Smith, Spencer, Hugo, Bucci, Greenwood, Yeomans, Floyd, Everington, Smith J (Brownhill L54), Brownhill L, Jackson (Bastos 75). Unused subs: Burrell, Richards, Duggan.
Referee: Lee Hible