Victory for Spartans as wingers cause havoc in visitors’ defence

Wing wizards Robbie Dale and Jarrett Rivers led the Belper Town defence a merry dance as they secured Spartans’ first win in four games.

It was Rivers who grabbed the two goals but skipper Dale was inspirational as he caused no end of problems for the bottom of the league side.

The first chance came in the sixth minute as Robbie Dale found some space on the left and danced past a half challenge from Chris Jones. However the winger’s cross was narrowly missed by the onrushing Michael Richardson and Jarrett Rivers at the back post.

Dale was creating havoc in the opening stages for the Town defence and just two minutes after that initial chance he played an intricate through ball that released Dan Hawkins. The midfielder’s first touch was excellent and he attempted to clip the ball over Town keeper James Martin but saw his effort clip the crossbar before Phillip Watt cleared.

The Belper back four got themselves in a tangle on the quarter of an hour mark as Aaron Pride’s attempted clearance hit Watt. The rebound fell to Michael Richardson on the edge of the area but his first time drive could only sting the palms of Martin as he parried it to safety.

For all of their pressure in the opening period Spartans couldn’t grab the opener and were thankful for the agility of keeper Peter Jeffries as he produced a full length dive to deny Michael Towey after the midfielder tried his luck from 25 yards.

Spartans could and really should have taken the lead midway through the half as the ever alert Michael Richardson released Rivers in on goal. The winger tried his chance with a first time angled drive that went just past Martin’s far post. After getting his first goal in the green and white during Tuesdays defeat at Frickley he almost grabbed his second just after the half hour mark. The former Newcastle United midfielder robbed Watt of the ball 25 yards from goal and attempted an audacious right foot curler that just went past the right hand upright.

However Spartans did take the lead ten minutes before the break. A corner from the left hand side from Rivers caught the wind and curled inside the near post after a deflection from Town full back Aaron Pride. However Rivers will be credited with the goal and his eighth of the season gave Tom Wade’s side the lead at the break.

Five minutes into the second half Robbie Dale came within a whisker of another remarkable goal. Michael Richardson managed to keep a long ball forward in play and rolled the ball back to Dale who was 20 yards out. He flashed a first time, right foot effort that curled just past Martin’s far post.

The lead was doubled just before the hour mark as Rivers grabbed his second but it has to be said the brilliance of Dale had much to do with it. The long serving winger drove forward from midfield and picked out a sublime pass that released Rivers into the right hand side of the area and he confidently rolled the ball past the advancing Martin.

The visitors should have halved their deficit just after the hour mark as Jonathon Williams’ brilliant free kick from the left was met by the head of Watt but the Nailers captain could only send his header past the far post from point blank range.

They had possibly an even better chance with just over twenty minutes left when Robert Stevenson almost made Nathan Buddle pay for a moment of indecision. The Nailers striker managed to nick the ball from the former Hartlepool United defender but could only roll past Spartans far post when he was in on goal.

With 10 minutes remaining, Spartans almost had a third and again Dale had the Nailers back four in a daze. After tying them in knots the winger smashed a low drive that was parried by Martin and the keeper also denied substitute Dan Maguire on the follow-up.

Frustrations flared for the visitors and they saw midfield Ian Ross booked for a cynical challenge on Rivers when many inside Croft Park felt a red card was merited.

Spartans now have a free week but will head to Trafford next Saturday

Spartans: Jeffries, Nicholson, Watson, Hutchinson, Buddle, Stv Turnbull (Mullen 80), Hooks (Wade 67), Rivers, Hawkins, Richardson (Maguire 73), Dale Subs not used: Parker, Dixon Goals: Rivers 35 and 58

Belper Town: Martin, Jones (Varley 60), Pride, Adams, Watt, Ross, Williams, Towey, Stevenson, Froggatt (Warne 90), Matthews Subs not used: Lister, Barr-Rostran, James.