MARTIN Rowe says Gresley paid high-flying Belper Town ‘too much respect’ after Saturday’s 0-0 draw at the Moat Ground.
“We should have got up and got at them a bit more, but it was difficult conditions with the rain – the pitch was very heavy,” said Rowe.
“I still think Belper will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, but I felt we just showed them a bit too much respect.
“I thought the first half was fairly even and I wanted us to push on a bit more in the second half and ask a few more questions.
“We didn’t quite do it – it was hard work out there. I changed things to a 4-4-2 by bringing Dean Oliver on and taking Marc Goodfellow off.
“I just felt that they were there for the taking, but we couldn’t get that final ball into the box to give Dean or Jordan Nadat that chance.
“Neither keeper had much to do.
“I said to my players at half time ‘get your shots off from anywhere on this pitch’ but both back fours played extremely well and the midfields played well defensively – we snuffed each other out.”
Rowe made changes for Saturday’s game against one of the First Division South promotion favourites.
Mickey Lyons, Marc Strzyzewsk, Marc Goodfellowi and James Jepson all returned to the starting line-up.
New signing Paolo Piliero was on the bench alongside Dean Oliver, John Guy and Liam Guest.
For the first 10 or so minutes it looked like the game might boil over with some feisty tackles from both sides.
But as the game settled it was Gresley who went the closest to scoring when a Jamie Barrett flick in the area needed clearing off the line.
Nadat then went close, firing a shot fractionally wide of the post.
Action switched to the other end and a cross from the left was met by Simon Harrison, with his far post volley clearing the bar.
But clear-cut chances were at a premium in the first half with defences largely on top.
The second half began with Nadat testing Nailers keeper Dave Ratcliffe, who dived low to his left to push the Gresley forward’s shot away.
Gareth Davies then went close for the visitors when he looped an effort wide.
Belper’s Philip Watt headed Simon Harrison’s corner wide before Nadat fired a shot wide of the post as action switched from end to end.
The best chance arguably came on the hour mark when Shaun Tutton found himself through on goal, but failed to find the target, firing wide of the near post.
Another good chance for the visitors followed seconds later.
A cross to the far post was met by Mark Ward who, with the goal at his mercy, planted his header wide.
Gresley’s defence repelled the late Belper attacks but the visitors almost scraped the winner when a header from substitute Jon Froggatt shaved the outside of the post.
It would have been a cruel end to a decent game that neither side deserved to lose.