MATCH VERDICT & VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Honours even for Spalding United in mid-table battle
A moment of magic denied Spalding United – but it was a fair result.
The Tulips took an early lead as Danny Brooks converted from the penalty spot after Haydn Goddard’s foul on Jenk Acar.
But they could only pick up one point as Belper Town’s assistant boss Lee Williamson showed his class.
The 35-year-old midfielder won eight caps for Jamaica during a professional career which featured spells at Watford, Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers.
Williamson’s man-of-the-match display at the Sir Halley Stewart Field on Saturday is unlikely to become one of the unforgettable highlights when he reflects on his achievements.
But it was a special strike which gave no chance to Spalding number one Michael Duggan.
Williamson stepped up 25 yards out after Leandro Browne had been barged over by Neal Spafford and he curled the free-kick into the top corner.
According to Belper’s Twitter account, the Nailers have been knocking ‘em in since 1883.
But they probably haven’t scored many better goals than Williamson’s equaliser which kept them four points ahead of Spalding in the bottom half of the table.
The Tulips still have the best home record in that lower section of the Evo-Stik South with one defeat in seven games since Christmas.
But this was a fourth draw out of five and Spalding didn’t deserve a first home win in 2018.
Brooks confidently proved that the boys in blue are capable of scoring from 12 yards, despite the Tulips’ poor record with penalty kicks.
However, they struggled to break into the final third or create chances in open play.
Luke White hooked over after Kern Miller nodded on Brooks’ first-half corner and Acar was denied near the end.
Brooks sent a 35-yard drive fractionally wide and his delivery into the box should have opened further opportunities.
Miller’s return saw a key role at the heart of the defence and, generally, Spalding coped pretty well.
James Hugo cleared inside the six-yard box from Williamson’s low effort, Dominic Allen and Callum Lloyd missed the target while Duggan kept out Browne from close range.
Honours were even and rightly so after a hard-fought battle in tough conditions.
3-4-1-2: Duggan 6; Spafford 7, Miller 7, Humble 7; Fixter 7, Varley 6, Brooks 7, Hugo 7; Marshall 5 (sub Walker 80 mins); Acar 6, White 6. Subs not used: Floyd, Davison, Moulds, Smith.
4-2-3-1: Searson-Smithard; Thornberry, Carlisle, Harrison, Goddard; Lloyd, Allen; Garnett (sub Steele 83 mins), Williamson, Browne (sub Jebbison 83 mins); Birks. Subs not used: Cole, Hallahan.
Brooks pen (11 mins, 1-0); Williamson (62 mins, 1-1).
Kern Miller - welcome return at heart of Tulips’ defence.
Alvechurch (A) – Saturday.