Ashby Ivanhoe suffer shock collapse at Belper - as they squander two-goal lead in final few minutes

By Josh Kay

31st Aug 2023 | Local Sport

Ashby Ivanhoe allowed the game to slip from their grasp at Belper. Photo: Josh Kay
Ashby Ivanhoe allowed the game to slip from their grasp at Belper. Photo: Josh Kay

Belper United 4 Ashby Ivanhoe 3

In a sensational last five minutes, Ashby Ivanhoe collapsed at the hands of high flying Belper United, who completed a stunning turnaround to win 4-3 after finding themselves 1-3 down with minutes to spare.

The most notable turning point in the match was Ashby's substitution of Ash Garner with 10 minutes to play.

After this, Belper found large amounts of space in midfield, their three late goals a testament to this as two of which were struck from distance.

Ivanhoe controlled most of the contest and led at the break through Sam Grouse as the striker found himself in on goal and poked past Harvey Woodward.

The visitors could have been further ahead when Tolani Omatola saw his one-on-one shot saved by Woodward, who sensationally got up and denied the Ashby man a second time from the rebound.

Starting the second half as they finished the first, Ivanhoe doubled their lead as Joe Neal met Will Robson's corner.

The defender has been a threat from set pieces all season and his goal had been coming, heading down and into the corner.

Belper had looked organised in possession throughout the game despite creating very little of note, however they got back into the game through former Ashby man Richard Hanslow, who flicked in a free kick at the near post.

Belper's joy was short lived though, as Joel Carta restored his side's two goal advantage through a right footed rocket which flew into the top corner, despite having multiple defenders closing him down.

Seemingly cruising, and with their thoughts possibly drifting towards Saturday's FA Cup tie, Ivanhoe missed several opportunities to put the match out of Belper's reach.

The travelling fans began to wonder if their team would be made to pay for this as Jack Tyson's strike from distance took a deflection off Harry Stewart and looped over Taylor with two minutes of normal time to play.

Stewart was in the thick of the action again moments later, appearing to foul Belper's winger, however the referee waved play on.

Recycling the ball from this passage of play, Belper swung in a cross from the right, finding the feet of Kieran O'Connell to slam past Sam Taylor and level the scores.

With Ivanhoe firmly on the back foot as the game crept through added time, the majority Ashby crowd would have settled for a draw at this stage despite their commanding position only minutes earlier.

Their fears were realised however as, once again, Ashby's pressing was non-existent, allowing Dylan Garnett to fire towards goal with his left foot and find the top left corner with a beautiful strike.

A stunned Ivanhoe tried to find a route back into the game in the dying embers of added time, however a Belper defence which had looked shaky for much of the match was now stout, allowing Grouse and substitute James Harrison no room.

The hosts must be credited for what was a miracle comeback, however manager Andy Gray will be asking major questions of his team as they head into Saturday's FA Cup tie against Bromsgrove Sporting.


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