Hucknall Town assistant counts the cost of missed chances after defeat at Belper United

Hucknall Town assistant manager Phil Henry counted the cost of a lack of cutting edge after the Yellows were beaten 2-0 at Belper United, writes Louis Wheeldon.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 1:29 pm
It's two league defeats in a row for Hucknall Town following their 2-0 loss at Belper United.

A controversial first goal and an unfortunate second scored by the hosts immediately after half time were enough to send the Yellows home with nothing as clear-cut opportunities proved hard to come by in Derbyshire.

Town were also reduced to ten men when Grant Ryan was red-carded for a second bookable offence with ten minutes to go.

Henry said: “We showed signs in the first half of having a level of control and being in the game, and remaining in the game, because at one-nil you’re always in the game, and then we got shot in the foot straight from kick-off.“We should’ve been on the front foot going forward, and we only managed to clear it twice into our own player and again into theirs and they got the luck of the bounce really.“And then we put pressure on. We put pressure on for ten or 15 minutes, had four or five corners and we didn’t really make enough of them.“They defended pretty well to be fair to them, they crowded us out, but we seemed to lose energy as the game went on.”On the red card for Ryan, he said: “I think he [the Belper player] bought it, he cut across Grant as he was heading to the corner and went down, and of course it cost Grant the second yellow card. I don’t think the second one was a yellow.”

Henry and Paul Stevenson named an unchanged side following Town’s penalty defeat to Notts County in midweek, with Courtney Bartley, Jordan Phillips, Lenford Jenkins and Louis Kinnerley all starting in defence.It was Jenkins who had the first big involvement of the game, sliding in perfectly to deny Belper’s Ryan Baker a sight at goal on the right-hand side.It was soon to be to no avail, however, as United midfielder Martin Smyth hit a powerful effort from 30 yards which crashed down off the bar and out off the post, but the referee and linesman dubiously awarded a goal.Hucknall started to grow further into the game from there, with Craig Westcarr seeing a low effort from range saved well and Aaron Lamb seeing another from a corner drag barely wide of the post.There was a huge shout for a penalty as half-time beckoned, as Westcarr left a Belper player trailing on the floor with a sharp turn in the box, and the striker’s subsequent cross cannoned off the defender’s arm. But despite passionate claims from the Yellows, nothing was given.It was made to be regretted straight after half-time, as a routine clearance blasted off a Belper shirt to play through Alex Haughton, who picked his spot with composure barely a minute into the second period.Hucknall still received a fair share of chances, and should have had one back through Phillips, whose close-range header was saved extraordinarily by Curtis Hall after a perfect cross from Westcarr.Town did not manage to clearly test the keeper again from there, despite having a lot of possession, and most hope of a comeback was lost when Grant Ryan was dismissed for a second bookable offence with ten minutes left.Pearson pulled off one more comfortable save with Baker threatening to tap home at the death, before the final whistle blew on an unfortunate day for the Yellows.Speaking after the game regarding the performance, assistant manager Henry said: “We showed signs in the first half of having a level of control and being in the game, and remaining in the game, because at one-nil you’re always in the game, and then we got shot in the foot straight from kick-off.“We should’ve been on the front foot going forward, and we only managed to clear it twice into our own player and again into theirs and they got the luck of the bounce really.“And then we put pressure on. We put pressure on for ten or 15 minutes, had four or five corners and we didn’t really make enough of them.“They defended pretty well to be fair to them, they crowded us out, but we seemed to lose energy as the game went on.”On the red card for Ryan, he said: “I think he [the Belper player] bought it, he cut across Grant as he was heading to the corner and went down, and of course it cost Grant the second yellow card. I don’t think the second one was a yellow.”

Hucknall: Pearson, Bartley, Kinnerley, Sims, Phillips, Jenkins, Lamb (Banister 71’), Brown (Leak 66’), Westcarr, Ryan, Ashurst (Francis 76’)