Stocksbridge Park Steels looked strong despite a Belper Town blitz leading to a 4-2 win for the away side.
The Steels took the lead early on through a sweet volley from Kurtis Turner. They would double it in the second half when a trialist slide tackled the goalkeeper and finished into an open net. Belper got one back with Wilson scoring from close range before he got an equaliser with a header after a set piece. Robson put Belper in the lead after finishing following a clearance off the line before Todd Jordan headed in to seal the win for the Nailers.
Stocksbridge got off to a good start and just after ten minutes, they got the opening goal. A trialist striker headed the ball along the edge of the box which Turner advanced onto. He took his time before hitting a volley perfectly, sending it into the far corner and past Durrant in the Belper goal.
The Steels were definitely the better side throughout the first half as they showed plenty of creativity and liveliness in the opposition half. But what Ian Richards may be most proud of is his defence. Belper brought with them a big side which included former captain Luke Mangham but they struggled to break through a Stocksbridge defence that didn’t give them a sniff. They did come close when Peterson’s flicked effort hit the post but the Steels would be very pleased with their first half clean sheet.
And the second half started even better than the first for Stocksbridge. The ball went back to Durrant but that didn’t mean the trialist would give up on it. He charged down the goalkeeper, slide tackled him and then finished to give the Steels a two goal advantage.
At the 60 minute mark, Ian Richards made wholesale changes with the team consisting more of youngsters and trialists for the last half an hour. Belper, who made plenty of their own changes, took immediate advantage. The ball went into the box and at the far post, Wilson was able to tap in to get the Nailers back into the bax.
After this, Belper barraged the Stocksbridge goal as they looked to grab an equaliser. It seemed like the Steels had survived initially and they looked to attack and get another goal themselves. But in the end, the Nailers were able to get the equaliser. From the corner, Belper initially had two shot blocked off the line and then cleared. They got the ball back into the box where Wilson was able to head in at the far post to equalise.
Belper’s physicality would end up being a bit too much for the youthful Stocksbridge to deal with. They got their third with a some good play allowing Robson to finish after the initial effort was blocked off the line. They got their fourth close to the end when former player Todd Jordan headed in, ensuring Belper’s perfect pre-season record continued.