Belper Town stun Stamford to reach NPL Midlands play-off final

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Belper Town are into the NPL Midlands play-off final after a stunning 2-1 win at in-form Stamford on Tuesday night.

The Nailers will go to Chasetown in Saturday’s final having overcome their semi-final hosts who finished second in the regular standings after being in excellent form since the turn of the year.

Brodie Litchfield and Kyle Dixon scored the goals at the end of each half to seal the win, Stamford’s Marshall Willock being sent off for two bookable offences just before half-time also aiding the Belper cause as the hosts also missed a penalty.

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And despite a late Stamford goal causing the Nailers to have to survive a bombardment in the dying seconds, their travelling support was left overjoyed as they held on to take the win .

Kyle Dixon fires home Belper's second goal at Stamford. Photo by Mike Smith.Kyle Dixon fires home Belper's second goal at Stamford. Photo by Mike Smith.
Kyle Dixon fires home Belper's second goal at Stamford. Photo by Mike Smith.

That was all after former Nailer Jonny Margetts had nearly come back to haunt his old club in the opening minute, his shot hitting a post as the hosts began on the front foot .

Belper defended stoutly throughout the first period, Stamford’s next good moment coming when Tendai Chitiza crossed for Margetts who was denied well by Nailers keeper Lewis Gwilliams.

The visitors’ patience then paid off, as on 40 minutes home keeper Dan Haystead’s poor clearance was pounced upon and Litchfield broke into the penalty area before shooting low into the net.

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That was followed by Willock’s dismissal, his first yellow courtesy of a late challenge and his second for a foul on Riece Bertram.

Stamford weren’t too perturbed by the man disadvantage and would miss a golden chance to equalise on 50 minutes when Margetts was fouled in the penalty area, Gwilliams getting down to save Harry Vince’s spot kick and the follow-up from Margetts.

Jack Duffy and Chitiza both saw good chances squandered, while Belper boss Grant Black was sent to the stands for time-wasting towards the end, before his side scored their second on the break when Derry Robson found Dixon who drilled home in stoppage time.

There was still time for Stamford to finally register, Cosmos Matwasa finding the top corner of the net, and despite the home side throwing everything at Belper to try and force extra-time, their threat came to nothing and it was Belper who would progress.

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