First Division South
Belper Town 3
Market Drayton Town 2
BELPER Town survived a second half revival from Market Drayton Town to claim all three points by the skin of their teeth.
The Nailers were looking to extend their good run of form against strugglers Market Drayton Town and were forced to make one change from the side that has won the last two games, when Michael Simpkins replaced the injured Dan White in the centre of defence.
New signing Karl Colley was selected as a substitute but Deon Meikle and Aaron Pride were conspicuous by their absences.
The visitors arrived at Christchurch Meadow in seventeenth place in the league table but they’d had a confidence boosting win in midweek after beating pace setters Carlton Town.
It was an untidy start to the game with neither side able to bring the ball under control and for the first ten minutes or so it spent much of its time airborne.
The Nailers forced a couple of corners in this period and the Market Drayton defence had to scramble the ball away on both occasions.
The visitors caught Belper on the break in the 12th minute but Aaron Chapman got down well to deny Dorryl Proffitt who tried to sneak the ball in at the near post.
Almost immediately the Nailers had an opportunity at the other end when Mark Ward found the ball at his feet and his half volley was beaten away by the ‘keeper.
Ward had a half chance in the 15th minute and opted to blast the ball from a tight angle and it flew high and wide of the target, however the Nailers were ahead two minutes later when Matt Cohen couldn’t hold Jon Froggatt’s driven cross and Chris Adam was on hand to the steer the ball into the empty net.
The Nailers put together a good move in the 26th minute culminating in a Jon Froggatt lay off to Chris Adam but the Belper player couldn’t add to his goals total as he failed to connect properly with the ball.
The game entered a quiet spell around the half hour mark as both teams seemed to cancel each other out, and a stiffening breeze didn’t help the players in their quest to play entertaining football.
The Nailers did try to string passes together when they could, with Jon Froggatt and Chris Adam combining well on a couple of occasions and in the 43rd minute only a full length save from Matt Cohen prevented the Nailers taking a 2-0 half time lead with Adam losing out.
However the Nailers weren’t going to be denied and the second goal arrived on the stroke of half time after Jon Froggatt cut inside and fired in a rising shot that the ‘keeper got his finger tips to, but the ball dropped over the goal line before Cohen could get back to prevent it.
The Nailers had the imposing figure of Karl Colley in the centre of the defence, as Richard Adams was withdrawn at half time with a suspected broken arm.
Belper made a slow start to the second half as Market Drayton made the early running and in the 52nd minute they reduced the arrears with a tremendous strike from Dorryl Proffitt who let fly from outside the penalty area, and bulged the side netting just inside the far post.
Glyn Cotton looked set to restore Belper’s advantage after breaking away in the 58th minute but he couldn’t make the most of Alan Ward’s pass and Matt Cohen saved with his legs.
The Nailers were struggling to find the energy and tempo of recent games and they looked less than convincing against an improved Market Drayton team who put pressure on the Belper defenders.
Belper had a let off in the 78th minute when Proffitt met a cross into the six yard area, and somehow Aaron Chapman got a hand to the ball, and then bravely grasped it at the second attempt.
There was huge relief in the 84th minute when Belper broke away with Chris Adam on the ball and he squared it to Jon Froggatt just inside the penalty area.
After taking one touch to control it, he slotted the ball past Matt Cohen to put the Nailers back in control.
Ben Leonard nearly prodded in a fourth moments later, but the visitors struck back in the 90th minute when Andy Cooke ran the ball over the line after Aaron Chapman couldn’t hold on to a fiercely struck shot.
The Nailers were forced to hang on for nearly five minutes of added on time before they could claim their fourth successive victory.
Belper Town: Chapman, Weir, Cotton, Adams (Colley 45), Simpkins, Rushbury (Leonard 54), Warne, Froggatt, Ward (Longstaff 85), Adam. Unused subs: Rennalls, Saxby.
Market Drayton Town: Cohen, Johnson, Ting, Goodhead, McMullen, Blake, Porter, Craig, Davies (Cooke 69), Proffitt, Ellis. Unused subs: Littler, Stevens.
Referee: Oliver Dolton (Oxford)
Match sponsor: Three Line Electrical Wholesalers
Man of the match: Jon Froggatt