NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Plenty of plusses but no points for Wisbech Town

Declan Rogers hit the Wisbech Town goal in their defeat to Belper Town. Picture: IAN CARTER

Declan Rogers hit the Wisbech Town goal in their defeat to Belper Town. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

It was a case of plusses but no points for Wisbech Town last Saturday.

Manager Seb Hayes was left with many sources of encouragement following his side's 2-1 defeat at the hands of unbeaten visitors Belper Town in a Northern Premier League South East Division clash at the Elgoods Fenland Stadium.

The Fenmen were stung by an early Belper breakthrough from Alex Peterson after just four minutes and the same player doubled the visitors' advantage on the stroke of half-time.

But Wisbech refused to wave the white flag against their promotion-chasing visitors and were rewarded when substitute Declan Rogers halved the arrears midway through the second period.

The same player was close to a late leveller for the Fenmen with a dipping drive after Belper had seen a third goal ruled out for offside.

And while his men ended up empty-handed, Hayes remains convinced they will pull clear of relegation trouble - a point endorsed by his rival boss.

"There are a lot of plus points again, but there is no getting away from the fact it is another defeat," admitted Hayes.

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"We told the boys that games are won and lost in the opening and closing 10 minutes of each half, but the message clearly didn't get through to them.

"We conceded after four minutes of the first half and again two minutes before half-time and those goals decided the game.

"We cannot afford to give an unbeaten side of the quality of Belper a two-goal head-start like that, but we showed what we're about when being the better side in the second half and the opposition manager told me afterwards that there is no way we be down at the bottom of the table at the end of the season.

"While it is good to hear that, I'd much rather have the points on the board than the praise from him.

"Whatever anyone says, we're in a relegation battle at the moment and we need to ensure we get better at the basics to get out of it.

"Having said that, we've only lost to one of the sides around us in the table and that convinces me we can get ourselves out of trouble.

"We had to put together a completely new squad in the summer and we've also had to go through a rebuild in recent weeks as well. I've got no doubt that if we had the current group of players at the start of the season we would be much higher up the table."

Hayes handed a debut to new midfield capture Danny Draper, who has arrived from Step 5 side Eynesbury Rovers, against Belper and was pleased with his contribution.

Meanwhile Belper appear to have been impressed with Wisbech left-back Conor Green given they have since slapped in a transfer approach for him. Green only arrived at Wisbech last month from Ilkeston but is expected to move on as he lives in the Belper area.

Green will play for the Fenmen when they travel to another bottom-six side, Kidsgrove, this Saturday, 3pm. Wisbech are intent on gaining revenge after losing 1-0 to the same opponents in an FA Trophy clash last month.

Hayes added: "It was a tight game in the Vase and one that we should have earned a replay from at the least. We didn't get what we deserved that day so hopefully we can put it right by picking up three league points."

Captain Sam Spencer returns from suspension at Kidsgrove but fellow centre-back Michael Adeyemi is unavailable.

Wisbech have released full-back Jurelle Philip.