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Mad spell costs Gresley as they sink at Belper

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 29, 2014

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A MAD four-minute spell of poor defending halfway through the first half proved disastrous for Gresley as they conceded three goals after taking an early lead through Paulo Piliero.

From three set pieces Gresley went from being comfortably in the lead to trailing by the half-hour mark.

It had all started perfectly for the visitors when Piliero took advantage of some hesitant defending in the Belper area to eventually slot home Lucas Harrison’s corner from the right.

However, Kieran O’Connell then inexplicably caught the ball on the sideline thinking the ball was out of play and it was from that mistake, resulting in a free kick, which started his side’s downfall.

Gresley manager Martin Rowe made just one change from the stunning 4-1 win over Leek Town on Saturday, bringing in Paulo Piliero for Rob Spencer and the move paid dividends when the winger’s goal gave them the early lead.

On 25 minutes Belper were level.

The cheap free kick was swung over from the left touch line by Simon Harrison into the area where Jon Froggatt flicked his header past Gresley keeper Mats Morch.

It got worse for the visitors two minutes later when they conceded from another set piece.

Another needless free kick lead to Harrison firing a low ball in which was blocked, only for Philip Watt to react quickly and ram the ball into the net.

And, as if that was not bad enough, Gresley conceded once more from yet another set piece and needless free kick this time on the right.

The ball from Harrison was swung into the area and not dealt with by the Gresley defence and Mark Ward was on hand to slot home the ball.

Gresley did have a couple of chances as the first half drew to a close, with both O’Connell and Eric Graves firing wide of the near post.

Belper threatened to add to their tally early in the second half with Steve Warne hitting his shot just wide of the near post and Harrison having his well-struck effort excellently saved by Morch.

Despite having the majority of possession Gresley found it difficult to get past the Belper rearguard.

The nearest they got was a shot from John Guy which was deflected for a corner.

Morch had to be on his toes when Froggatt fired a shot which the keeper saved well at his near post.

Ten minutes later, though, Belper scored goal number four, giving the scoreline a somewhat flattering look about it.

Aaron Cole, who had replaced Harrison just four minutes previously, made a run into the area on the right before hitting a vicious shot which took a wicked deflection with the ball ending up in the net.

Belper could have scored a fifth almost at the end of 90 minutes when Ward hit a curling shot from the left which looked for all the world to be heading into the far top corner until Morch made a superb acrobatic save to push the ball away for a corner.

GOALS: Piliero 5 (Gresley); Froggatt 25, Watt 27, Ward 29, Cole 88 (Belper).

BELPER: Ratcliffe, Jones, Cullingworth, Davies, Watt, White (Roulston 86), S Harrison (Cole 76), Warne (capt), Froggatt (Wells 72), Ward, Marrison. Subs not used: Duncum, Davis.

GRESLEY: Morch, Hanson (Holmes 74), Harrison, Guy, Barrett (capt), Graves, Lyons, Grice, Turville (Steadman 62), O’Connell, Piliero (Spencer 65). Subs not used: Townsend (gk), Guest.

STAR MAN: Mickey Lyons – pulled the strings in midfield like he did in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Leek Town.

YELLOW CARDS: Graves, Holmes (Gresley); Jones (Belper).

REFEREE: Declan Bourne (Nottingham).

ATTENDANCE: 165.

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