Staveley MW U21 score deep into stoppage time to beat Belper Town U21 in League Cup
Belper Town U21s suffered late heartbreak when they conceded a goal three minutes into added time to consign them to a 2-1 defeat in this League Cup quarter-final tie.
This was always going to be a testing encounter as the young Nailers had lost 8-1 in the league fixture earlier in the season but on this occasion they provided the hosts with a much tougher challenge.
Manager Wynne Garnett drafted in 16-year-old Academy skipper, Sam Weston to partner Fenwick Butcher at the heart of the defence, whilst Brannon Meehan deputised in goal for the unavailable Charlie Mansfield.
There was also a place in left midfield for new signing Stuart Wearing, who had joined the club from Long Eaton United.
Staveley made most of the early running with their crisp passing and movement with Belper relying mainly on a counter attacking strategy.
That said, it was the Nailers who created the better opportunities throughout the first half and they were rewarded when Laurence Constable fired home from an acute angle to give Belper the lead after 39 minutes.
But, the last thing that the Belper youngsters needed was a quick-fire response from Staveley at the start of the second half but that materialised when substitute Joe Harris powered in a header from a free kick after 48 minutes.
The second period broadly followed the pattern of the first with Staveley having more of the ball but unable to create much in the way of clear cut scoring opportunities.
The tie looked to be destined for extra-time when home skipper Ryan Watters scored with a low shot from 20 yards that bounced awkwardly before flying past Brannon Meehan.
It was tough to take for the Belper youngsters, who had defended tenaciously and with a little more belief going forward, may well have emerged with an unlikely victory.
Staveley MW: Butt, Gambles, Dawson, Hutchinson, Oglesby, Robinson, Watters, Treasure, Walters, Hendley, Thornton. Subs: Knowles, Morton, Harris, Pickering, Copestake.
Belper Town: Meehan, Anthony, Parker, Weston, Butcher, Barker, Wearing (Taggart 65), Barnes, Ilston, Hamilton 70) Birks, Constable. Other Subs: Johnson, Gillott.
Referee: Daniel Middleton.