Taddy came into the contest looking for their first victory since December 22nd and a thumping header in the first minute from Harry Coates settled the nerves. Albion went on to double their lead at the start of the second half with Aiden Savory awarded the goal following a Billy Whitehouse corner.
Ex-Brewer Piteu Crouz reduced the deficit in stoppage time but it was only a consolation as Simon Collins’ side got back to winning ways and kept their place in the play-offs.
New signing Jake Buckle was on the bench, Pete Davidson was ruled out for the first time this season with a slight hamstring injury strain which allowed Jake Rose to return for the first time since November.
Goals have been an underlying issue for Tadcaster over the festive period so when Harry Coates latched onto a Whitehouse free-kick storming a header into the back of the net just two minutes in, relief was felt around the ground.
Having said that Belper could have easily drawn level two minutes later when captain Danny South found Piteu Crouz in the box, he turned Aaron Hardy but misfired shooting over the mark. It was a cracking and remarkably open start to the contest as another clear-cut opportunity came and went, this time for the home side. Billy Whitehouse the provider as ever down the right crossing to stand-in skipper Aiden Savory at the back post and he looked to have done everything right guiding his header back across goal, but it dropped agonisingly the wrong side of the upright with exasperations all round.
Monstrous defender Harry Coates was setting the tone with his strong challenges and he certainly wasn’t deterred by the several gigantic Belper players. Coates continues to impress in his debut season at the i2i Stadium and he made an outstanding full-blooded block on the edge of his box to stifle Danny Gordon’s fierce drive with Nathan Curtis firing the follow-up over. Collins & Kilby were forced into an early change after quarter of an hour as Aaron Hardy pulled up with a strain which saw Ellis Barkworth return.
There was no doubting that the travelling Nailers were primarily a threat from set-pieces with every throw-in set up to be a long one, however it was a corner which saw them go perilously close to an equaliser as Danny South’s header clipped off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared by Coates. The Brewers’ performances haven’t slipped in recent weeks despite the dip in results, and the chances were still being created out as Whitehouse brilliantly drove across the face of goal only for Chris Howarth to turn over the bar from four yards out, albeit on his weaker foot.
Howarth almost made amends for his miss when setting up top scorer Joe Lumsden with a neat flick, but the striker saw his effort deflect into Leigh Overton’s hands. It was a classic encounter against a Grant Black side; huge tackles, physical battles and aerial duels all over but midfielders Jake Rose and Corey Roper were relishing the task at hand. Also, Paddy Miller was revelling too performing admirably in tandem with partner Coates giving South very few flick-ons and reading the game tremendously.
The Brewers netted the crucial second goal three minutes into the second half from another Whitehouse delivery, this time a corner. The near post cross somehow found a way into the back of the net and it was unclear who got the last touch, but it looked as though Aiden Savory got the decisive touch flicking home through a couple of bodies. Savory, who was buoyant after netting his sixth goal of the season, went close to a seventh receiving the ball on the edge of the box letting fly with his left-foot but Overton smartly flung to his left.
The midfield duo of Jake Rose and Corey Roper continued to stamp their authority on the game making sure they were first to every ball before setting the forward line away. Determination was proving to be pivotal and Joe Lumsden, who was having a relatively quiet afternoon for his standards, went close to further extending the lead when he broke in behind and rounded keeper Leigh Overton who got just enough on the shot to keep it out.
Despite missing a couple of gilt-edged chances in the first 45, Crouz still looked the most likely route to goal for the away side as he thumped the crossbar with a dipping free-kick from 19 yards out. Four minutes later and Belper incredibly struck the woodwork for a third time as Danny Gordon instinctively flicked onto the bar.
The visitors continued to pose a physical threat but they were up against a determined Taddy side as Jack Walters launched himself heroically in front of a thunderous Alfred Thompson strike which looked destined to find the net. Nevertheless Belper did get on the board deep into stoppage time when Piteu Crouz exquisitely arrowed into the top corner from an acute angle down the right-hand side.
Full-Time: Tadcaster Albion 2-1 Belper Town
Tadcaster: Hodges, Hardy (Barkworth 15), Walters, Roper, Coates, Miller, Whitehouse (Buckle 83), Rose (Stewart 78), Lumsden, Howarth, Savory©
Belper: Overton, Thompson, Nelthorpe (Clark 55), Robson (Colbear 83), Assenso, Ubah, Crouz, Gordon, South©, Milner, Curtis (Owen 58)
Unused: Deacey, Pugh