• Mark Duffy

Belper and Ilkeston share the spoils in Bank Holiday derby

NPL Midlands

Belper Town 2

South 10, Margetts 81pen

Ilkeston Town 2

Webb 36, Goodson 86pen

Belper and Ilkeston couldn't be separated in Monday's Bank Holiday derby battle at the Raygar Stadium.

Ilkeston will have gone away the more disappointed of the two sides, having missed numerous opportunities in the second-half, although having been behind with four minutes left may have ultimately seen them also relieved to have not gone back to Erewash with nothing.

Belper, meanwhile, could take plenty of heart from their overall display having given as good as they got for large parts of the encounter.

The Robins began well, Paddy Webb shooting straight at keeper Myles Wright and then crossing for Alex Troke to head at Wright all within the first three minutes.

A poorly-defended corner then saw Belper’s Alex Peterson stab an effort straight at Ross Durrant on seven minutes.

The Robins thought they’d scored moments later when James Reid’s free-kick from the byline was cut back to Troke whose shot looked like it would find the net by it was cleared off the line and Wright gathered.

Belper then took the lead on ten minutes, as a ball into the box saw Jonny Margetts’ shot heading wide but Danny South was on hand to turn the ball in at the back post.

Danny South slides in to score for Belper. Photo: Mike Smith.

Kieran Fenton’s free-kick from 25 yards was then blocked out to him and his volleyed return was easy for Wright to save, then Webb dragged a shot wide when a mistake gave him a clear sight of goal but he couldn’t convert.

Ollie Brown-Hill’s weak effort again was easy for Wright on 34, the Robins lacking the quality when it mattered in the final third.

That was until the 36th minute when the equaliser arrived. Good work by Brown-Hill saw him feed Webb in the penalty area and his shot from a slight angle went under Wright and into the net.

Belper responded with an attack that saw two efforts blocked in something of a scramble in the Robins box, but half-time arrived with the teams very evenly-matched.

The Nailers had the first opening of the second-half when Ben Rhodes drove just wide of the far post having been found on the left edge of the penalty area.

Tom Wilson’s looping header was also just wide for the hosts on 67 as chances were few in number but the game was evenly poised going into its final quarter.

At the other end, Aman Verma’s header from a Reid free-kick was just past the post, then an error by Fenton let Peterson in on goal but Durrant was able to tip his shot just wide of the post.

A golden chance came for the Robins when Troke drilled a ball across goal which was somehow put wide by recently-arrived sub Charlie Wakefield – the ball appearing to hit him and run past the post.

Billy Bennett in possession for Ilkeston. Photo by Mike Smith.

Fellow sub Zak Goodson then forced Wright into a good save low down as Ilkeston began to put pressure on the home side, Goodson then seeing an effort cleared off the line after Wright had blocked Remaye Campbell’s route to goal.

But it was the Nailers who would re-take the lead with ten minutes to go. Mitchell Tait tracked Brodie Litchfield’s run down the right all the way to the byline before then lunging in and bringing the Belper winger to ground, a penalty duly awarded.

Margetts stepped up and sent Durrant the wrong way.

The Robins, however, weren’t done. On 86 minutes, Goodson received the ball 25 yards out and curled a beauty with his left foot over Wright and into the top corner.

Ilkeston then bombarded the Belper goal – Troke seeing a shot blocked on the line and Goodson also denied from a corner, but they couldn't find the elusive winner.