Cpt Mark Lamb and Fellow Old Boy Tom Sherratt celebrate the Nailers win and their final games for the club as both announce their retirement.
Belper entered Sundays match once again missing key players in Jacob Bullock unable to be released from School, Chris Burton Injured and Steve Batten recovering from surgery but we still fielded a very strong team.
The match scenario was simple, we win we stay up, Deeside who were playing Olton needed to better our result to have a chance of staying up and if we beat Khalsa and Deeside also won, it was the visitors Khalsa who were going to the relegation play-offs.
The match started with Belper looking to exert the early pressure on the visitors and with the big home crowd in attendance the atmosphere was electric.
On 6 mins with Khalsa playing the ½ court press they managed to steal the ball and throw a huge aerial to the leagues’ top scorer Dave Harris who found himself 1 on 1 with Slane in the Belper Goal, as Slane came out to meet him Harris shot for goal only to see his effort go agonisingly wide for the visitors but credit goes to Slane for putting the pressure on him and forcing the error.
This gave Belper the shock they needed to raise the game and on 10 mins it was Belpers Walton who managed to get on the end of a superb cross to get the slightest of deflections and send the ball into the far corner giving Belper a 1-0 lead.
Khalsas tactics remained the same for the rest of the half, throwing the long aerial in hope and on 2 occasion’s it worked, following mistakes from Belper it let in the very dangerous Harris but each time it was Slane in the Belper goal that came out on top making 2 good saves.
News was filtering through just before ½ time that Deeside were also winning after 2 goals in a minute and a lone reply on 35 from Olton sent them in 2-1 up at the break.
Belper 1 – 0 Khalsa
Deeside 2 – 1 Olton
We can only assume that Khalsa got the same news, as at this stage should the results remain the same it was they who would be going into the Relegation playoffs and they started the 2nd period a different outfit.
They pressed Belper back time and time again and for the first time this season it was Belper who began to look fatigued.
Captain Lamb and partner Ben Inshaw where magnificent at the back in dealing with Khalsa onslaught and with Richard Kitchen at centre half putting everything on the line for the cause we managed to keep the threat at bay.
With chances coming and going at both ends the tension was unbearable but the Belper crowd were certainly doing their part in getting behind the team.
With just 6 minutes left on the clock we could taste victory as khalsa were now beginning to tire themselves but disaster struck on 64 minutes as Khalsa were awarded a Penalty Corner.
Up stepped Aaron Nagra to finally beat Slane in the Belper goal to give Khalsa the goal they so desperately needed and the hope of survival for another season. The Belper crowd and bench were devastated.
News then came in that Deeside had taken a 5-2 lead over Olton, we were going into the relegation playoffs. But one of the bravest calls was then made, Coach Murray called Slane the Belper keeper off the pitch and sent Cpt Mark Lamb to play as kicking back in order for Belper to give it everything they had in the final 5 minutes, we were now battling for our very existence in National League.
The crowd, realising what we had done suddenly found that extra few decibels of noise to spur the boys on.
We pressed and pressed and Khalsa were holding on for their lives and with the clock ticking down into the final few seconds the game was halted by the umpire. No-one knew what for, but he bent down to tie his laces – was he kidding us, the tension was unbearable with just 20 seconds left on the clock.
Belper restarted the game and drove at the Khalsa ‘D’, the ball was thumped in and from the resulting play the whistle blew…… PENALTY CORNER TO BELPER !!!!
The noise from the crowd was unbelievable but went even louder as the final whistle was then blown.
Belper had a chance………
I cannot imagine what was going through the players minds, one push out, one stop one good execution and it would be all over.
The ball was pushed out,
The stop was perfect,
The drag was low to the keepers left…..
But Walton followed up and forced another error from the Khalsa defence…..
PENALTY CORNER AGAIN TO BELPER…..
It was unbearable as the crowd erupted once more.
Belper re-set, the crowd went absolutely silent, the news was in that Deeside had won 6-2, Belper were into the relegation playoffs.
The injection – Perfect
The stop by Chris Hall – Perfect
The drag from Drew Burkin – HIGH INTO THE GOAL
THE NAILERS HAD WON !!!!!
THE NAILERS HAD WON !!!!!
THE NAILERS HAD WON !!!!!
The noise and celebrations were incredible, the last hit in the last game of the season, you just could not have scripted it.
WHAT A GAME, WHAT A WAY TO WIN
NAILERS WERE SAFE.
It’s impossible to wholly explain and describe the feelings we went through today. The guys were magnificent, so many of them playing with broken bodies but finding from somewhere the stamina and control to get us exactly what we deserved, the win and National League status for another year.
Will’s decision to pull the keeper was inspired and Drew Burkin will now go down in Belper history with that penalty corner. The guts it took to back himself to score with his drag flick was unbelievable especially when you remember what was at stake.
Finally I want to mention the crowd today – simply magnificent. The way they got behind the boys was truly an emotional experience for all of us. All credit to them and the Club the Belper Lion truely roared today.
Its been the most incredible season I’ve had in over 35 years, the major downs pre Christmas with the sacking of Will’s predecessor and the loss of players, the huge injury problems we have encountered right through to Sundays final day glory, I feel I’ve aged another 10 years but I do have to say I have never felt so alive as I did during that final set play.
Roll on 2014-15 season, the Nailers are back !!!
See you tube link below for final moments