GRESLEY were just nine minutes from pulling off a deserved victory at in-form Belper Town last night.
However, they were unable to hold onto the lead given to them by Jordan Nadat on the stroke of half time.
That was no more than their performance had warranted, but were denied all three points when Mark Ward struck to share the spoils.
Ryan Walker was missing for the visitors due to a slight injury sustained against Hucknall on Saturday, along with Gareth Langford, who had work commitments.
This meant Jamie Barrett filled the full-back slot with Danny Holmes coming into midfield.
The last time the two sides met was at the Moat Ground when Gresley took all three points with a fortunate goal gifted by their keeper at the end of the game, so the visitors fully expected a tough game at Christchurch Meadows.
On a good playing surface, Gresley started quickly, forcing three early corners, one of which saw a header needing to be pushed away by Nailers keeper Aaron Chapman.
Another corner, taken by Marc Goodfellow, was headed over by Marc Strzyzewski before a good move down the left between Goodfellow and Jordi Gough ended with the latter firing in a shot that needed to be tipped over by Chapman.
However, it was Belper who could have taken the lead against the run of play when a free kick from Simon Harrison was spilled by Gresley keeper Gary Hateley, but Shaun Roulston could only poke the loose ball wide.
Chapman had been the busier of the two keepers in the first half and he needed to be alert when Mickey Lyons made a good run down the right before hitting a low shot that the keeper did well to hold at his near post.
As the half drew to a close, Gresley took the lead when Nadat managed to turn in the area before hitting a shot that beat Chapman.
Belper were extremely fortunate to have 11 players on the pitch within three minutes of the re-start as Chapman came racing out of his area to beat Goodfellow to the ball but used his hands to deny the Gresley forward.
The Moatmen were awarded a free-kick for the handball but the referee did not even speak to Chapman.
Gresley continued to have the upper hand but Belper went close to levelling when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area and Glyn Cotton found Jon Froggatt, but he could only put his header wide of the target.
The home side slowly began to get more into the game and the Gresley back-line was being stretched at times.
Froggatt almost got on the end of end inviting cross from Shaun Tuton and then a quick break resulted in the Gresley defence somehow scrambling the ball away from danger.
Another free-kick from Cotton was headed over the bar as Belper began to look like they would get something out of the game.
And their reward came when Gresley failed to deal with another set-piece into the box, and Belper substitute Ward was able to slot the ball home from close range.
Belper could have taken all three points but for a series of saves from Hateley, firstly keeping out Froggatt’s stinging shot and then denying Ward by diving full length to push the ball away for a corner.
GOALS: Ward 81 (Belper); Nadat 45 (Gresley).
BELPER: Chapman, Wright, Rushbury, Cotton, Roulston, Adams, Harrison (Morrison 48), Warne, Froggatt, Tuton (Thomas 84), Adam (Ward 74). Sub not used: Graves.
GRESLEY: Hateley, Barrett, Gough, Strzyzewski, Nottingham, Holmes, Lyons (Hanslow 84), Rathbone, Nadat, Turville (Massingham 70), Goodfellow. Subs not used: Cox, Bryant, Woods.
BOOKINGS; Strzyzewski, Holmes, Rathbone, Goodfellow (Gresley).
GRESLEY STAR MAN: Michael Nottingham – controlled the threat from the Belper front line well alongside his teammates.
REFEREE: Sean Richardson (Huthwaite).