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Stamford are one of only two unbeaten sides in the division

Jon Challinor scored Stamford's equaliser at Belper. Photo: Geoff Atton (4119740)
Jon Challinor scored Stamford's equaliser at Belper. Photo: Geoff Atton (4119740)

A late strike from substitute Jon Challinor helped maintain Stamford's unbeaten league record in a 1-1 draw at Belper Town on Tuesday night.

Challinor fired home the equaliser with just seven minutes remaining of the Evo-Stik League Division One East clash.

Stamford had earlier fallen behind to a debut goal from Belper's Kai Hancock which arrived five minutes after Eliot Putman had seen a 27th minute penalty saved by home custodian Max Beardmore.

The hosts also finished the match with 10 men following the injury-time dismissal of Derry Robson after collecting his second booking.

The draw means third-placed Stamford are one of only two teams - Ossett United are the other - to remain unbeaten and boss Graham Drury had mixed feelings about the point.

He said: “It was probably two points dropped in terms of the chances we created. We missed a penalty and had other good opportunities in the first half. We should probably have gone in 3-1 up at half-time.

“But the lads deserve credit though because after falling behind we still got a result so it could prove to be a good point.

"It's never an easy place to go and they are only going to get better. They are a bigger and stronger side than they were last season.

"The boys dug in and showed what we're about. They are determined to do well this season and we are one of two sides still unbeaten and joint top of the league.”

Stamford went into the contest without suspended duo Rob Morgan and Chris Salt, but welcomed Cleveland Taylor back into their starting line-up following his return from injury while Stan Mugisha and Mike Armstrong were both on the bench.

They started brightly with Liam Adams fizzing in an early effort that tested Beardmore before Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson’s surge into the box was halted by a smart challenge from Isaac Assenso.

Joe Burgess nearly netted for the third game in succession when his rising strike clipped the top of the crossbar while Putman fired wide when well-placed.

The Daniels were then awarded a spot kick when Danny South was penalised for holding, but Putman’s penalty was superbly tipped away by Beardmore who then reacted swiftly to block the rebound.

Belper then made the Daniels pay for the penalty miss by taking a 32nd minute lead as South’s shot was turned away by Dan Haystead into the path of Hancock who slid home the rebound to break the deadlock.

South volleyed just over for the hosts while Haystead had to be at his best to keep out a well-struck shot from Nathan Curtis before the break.

Stamford pushed for an equaliser in the second period with Challinor and Mugisha coming on at half-time for Taylor and Reece Morris.

Adams sent another effort narrowly over the crossbar before Stamford’s persistence paid off with eight minutes remaining.

Challinor surged forward before unleashing a fantastic strike that left Beardmore rooted to the spot to bring the scores level.

The leveller sparked a strong response from the hosts with home captain Alex Peterson twice going close in the latter stages.

The Nailers, who minutes earlier had seen their manager Grant Black dismissed from the dug-out, were then reduced to 10 men in injury-time when Robson was cautioned for a second time for a foul.

Stamford: Haystead, Hare, Putman, Burgess, Cooke, Egginton, Taylor (Mugisha 46), Duffy, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Adams (Armstrong 63), Morris (Challinor 46). Subs not used: Peasgood, Grouse.

Attendance: 213.

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