Wisbech pay the price for sloppy start
Wisbech Town 1, Belper Town 2
Northern Premier League south east division
A spirited second half display on Saturday was not enough for the Fenmen to steal a point against visitors unbeaten in the league this season.
The young home side paid for a lack of concentration at the start and end of the first half and were left chasing the game against one of the best teams in the league. After an average first half they worked really hard after the break, pulled a goal back and had chances to equalise. At the end, they were deservedly clapped off.
The new additions have definitely strengthened the team who are surely too good to stay so close to the danger zone.
Winger Danny Draper was signed this week and Jurelle Philip released, and Draper looked good on the ball, tracked back well and gave a solid performance. Three players were also making their home debuts and all look good additions to the squad. Michael Adeyemi was steady at the back, left back Conor Green looks like he will strengthen the team and striker Charley Sanders was a handful throughout and unlucky not to get on the score sheet.
Layton Maddison played well and never stopped running, Jon Kaye looked strong at the back and Declan Rogers, who has been playing with various injuries over the past few weeks, looked fresh and very dangerous when he came on as a second half substitute. Beckham Kennelly is returning to fitness during his loan spell at Wisbech St Mary and when he comes back into the team they will be even stronger.
Before kick off, there was a minute's silence for Remembrance, followed by a minute's applause to remember supporters Richard Meek and Dickie Knight, plus former player Colin Grimmer. A collection on the day also raised £162 for Belper, whose ground has been damaged by recent flooding.
Big striker Alex Peterson side footed the Nailers into a third minute lead after the Wisbech defence switched off following a corner. Half-way through the first period Fenmen keeper Sam Wilson saved well from Riece Bertram and then Peterson blasted one over the bar as Belper looked to increase their lead.
Wisbech's best moment of the half saw Draper end a mazy run with a shot which was deflected for a corner. Keeper Russell Musselwhite dropped the set piece and it was cleared to Maddison, who blasted over.
Belper's second came just before the break when George Milner ran down the right and crossed for Peterson to score his second.
Wisbech nearly got back into the game with the last kick of the half but Sander's low drive was well saved.
The home side were much brighter after the break and scored midway through the half when half-time substitute Declan Rogers finished well from 20 yards. Rogers went close with another effort and Danny Setchell just cleared the bar with a fierce drive as Wisbech pushed strongly for the equaliser.
And right on the final whistle Wisbech went close again but Sanders' effort was saved again and Belper went away with all three points.
After the match, Fenmen boss Seb Hayes said: "In my team talk I said the first and the last ten minutes of each half is where games are won and lost. We've conceded after four minutes and with two minutes to go in the first half and that's killed us. You cannot give unbeaten sides a two-goal head start. We have a young side with only one player over 25 and a lot of them 19 or 20 and that naivety showed in the those spells. It's sloppy.
"We had spells in the first half when we were in the game and second half I thought we were the better side. Their manager has assured me we won't be down there at the end of the season. It's nice to hear that but it's another defeat by the odd goal.
"People are saying we lost our best player in Joel Earps - that is absolute rubbish. We have five or six players who have out-performed Earps all season but because he ran around a lot everyone thinks he is good.
"We have quality here. I now feel we have a squad where we can win every time we play. If we get the basics right we then allow our quality to shine and we stay in games longer and start winning games rather than chasing them.
"We're in a relegation battle but we're not getting the breaks. We've got to be the best team in the bottom eight. We've only lost one game to the sides around us so I fully believe we are good enough to stay up but. We have enough games to turn it around.
"I just hope people can see there is an improvement, that the players coming in are better than we had and that progress is being made."
Wisbech: Wilson, Whyatt, Green, Kaye, Adeyemi, Marshall(Shackleton 86 mins), Draper, Setchell, Sanders, Jaquite (Rogers 45), Maddison (Nassunculo 75).
Belper: Musselwhite, Bryant, Clark, Wright, South, Bertram, Curtis, Robson (Gordon 88 mins), Peterson, Milner, Dawes (Ridley 65). Subs (not used): Swaine, Waldram, Ogley.
Goals: Peterson (Belper), 4 mins, 42 mins; Rogers (Wisbech) 65 mins.
Booked: Wisbech - Setchell (foul), Nassunculo (foul); Belper - Milner (foul), South (foul).
Referee: Stuart Cheek.
Star man: Declan Rogers - came on as second half substitute and totally lifted the side.
More by this authorJeremy Ransome