It was play-off heartbreak for Chasetown FC as they lost 1-0 to Belper Town in front of a record crowd at The Scholars Ground.

Riece Bertram scores for Belper Town against Chasetown. Picture: Dave Birt
Riece Bertram scores for Belper Town against Chasetown. Picture: Dave Birt

A total of 2,500 fans saw a Riece Bertram goal prove the difference between the two sides and earn promotion for the Derbyshire visitors.

Belper made the first in-roads towards tgoal inside the first ten minutes, earning a free-kick just outside the penalty area, though nothing came from it.

The hosts registered their first effort on target in the 12th minute as Danny O’Callaghan warmed Lewis Gwilliams’ gloves from just outside the penalty area.

The Nailers’ Danny South saw yellow for a late challenge on Joey Butlin, but the referee had already blown for a Belper free-kick so the visitors had the chance to clear.

Just before the midway point, Chasetown’s leading goalscorer Jack Langston put a header narrowly wide of the post from Butlin’s cross.

The game was halted for more than five minutes as medical staff were called to a supporter who required medical assistance.

When the game resumed, Belper’s South almost forced an error from Ryan Wynter, but the loose ball ran through to home keeper Curtis Pond.

The first half entered eight minutes of stoppage time and skipper O’Callaghan curled an effort wide of Gwilliams’ upright.

Alex Melbourne, playing advanced of his normal right-back berth, forced a corner before the break with a low drive that deflected off a Belper boot.

The Nailers took the lead four minutes into the second half. A cross from the right to the far post from Brodie Litchfield was headed home by an unmarked Bertram.

Chasetown were quick to get back on the attack and Gwilliams was at full stretch to pluck a cross from Butlin out of the air before O’Callaghan could head goalwards.

On 69 minutes, Gwilliams was forced to push a low Langston shot wide of the post, before taking an easy catch from Wynter from the resulting corner.

Substitute Kyle Perry almost linked up with Butlin, but imperious defending from South kept the back door locked on the Chasetown forwards.

Prince Macinelli threatened the Scholars goal on the counter attack as the game entered the last ten minutes but, after initially outpacing Josh Mansell, the full-back recovered to clear the danger.

Wynter was crowded out as he tried to get on the edge of an Oli Hayward as the hosts pushed for the equaliser.

Chasetown thought they had scored a dramatic equaliser as substitute Dilano Reid’s low shot fizzed past Gwilliams but South cleared off the line to claims from the home fans who were convinced the ball had crossed the line.

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