It’s been a great week for Belper Town who made progress in both FA competitions by beating Matlock Town at Christchurch Meadow in an FA Cup with Budweiser replay, and knocking Loughborough Dynamo out of the FA Carlsberg Trophy by the odd goal in seven last Saturday.
The Nailers should have finished the job at the first attempts at the Reynolds Stadium, but replay gave the opportunity for a big crowd to witness a comprehensive display against the Gladiators who looked a well-beaten side by the end.
In some ways the FA Trophy trip to Loughborough turned out to be a tougher assignment where, after dominating the majority of the first half and taking a 2-1 half time lead, they just couldn’t finish the Leicestershire side off even after going 4-2 ahead mid way through the second period.
The Nailers gave away a soft penalty with 6 minutes to go and there were a few anxious moments as Dynamo flooded forward and put Belper under considerable pressure towards the end.
Manager Peter Duffield (pictured) was understandably delighted with the week’s endeavours and was full of praise for his players.
“We have beaten a team from a higher league to progress in the FA Cup and to get through the replay scoring three goals without replay was an excellent result for us.
“We got four more goals at Loughborough, and should have had more, but nine in three games is a healthy total for any side.
“If there is a downside we have conceded too many and we need to work on that but I can’t fault the back four because as individuals they have been excellent.”
The Nailers will now face the current leaders of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division, Leamington FC in the next round at Christchurch Meadow on 29 September.
The Nailers will hope that Doncaster Rovers will agree to Jordan Ball staying at the club after impressing everyone at the Meadow with his performances especially over the last three or four games.
And there’s no doubt that Peter Duffield wants to hang on to the promising youngster.
“Jordan has found his legs at this level after a sluggish start but he is very keen to learn and listens well, and we are starting to see what a good player he is and I for one hope that Doncaster will see that he is doing well here; scoring goals and enjoying himself.
“We want to keep him longer but it is Doncaster who will make the decision but I’m hopeful that he will be allowed to stay with us.”
Recent performances suggest that he will be amongst the first names to be on the team sheet for this Saturday’s big clash in the FA Cup at the New Manor Ground and this is likely to be Belper’s toughest challenge yet as newly promoted Ilkeston will fancy their chances in their own back yard.
“It’s another really difficult game for us,” said Duffield, “ but so far we have thrived on difficulty and we shall be having a go and if we play to our potential you never know what might happen.”
The Nailers will be hoping that‘keeper Aaron Chapman recovers from an injury sustained in last Saturday’s win at Loughborough after he clashed with striker Dave Blenkinsopp.
“He’s taken quite a bad knock on his leg but fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any serious damage and hopefully, with rest he could be back for us on Saturday.”
The Nailers will face Rainworth Miners Welfare at home in one of only three league games scheduled in September next Tuesday evening, and then only if Saturday game at Ilkeston doesn’t require a replay.