The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 6th May 2012
....Northern Premier League First Division South play-offs to one side and use the momentum of their impressive unbeaten run to mount a challenge for promotion next season.
The Nailers ended their campaign with fourteen wins and two draws but fell agonisingly short of a top-five spot on the final day.
They went into the last round of fixtures in fourth place and a 1-1 draw with New Mills looked like being enough for Belper before news filtered through of Leek Town's 5-0 victory over Shepshed Dynamo.
This result took Leek level on goal difference with Duffield's men and they pipped them by virtue of having scored three more goals than their rivals overall.
Belper, who claimed a last-gasp win over Leek in their penultimate match, would still have made the play-offs had Shepshed converted a penalty.
"I think it was probably a game too far for us in the end," said Duffield. "We had put such a big effort in and we could have done with the Leek match being our final fixture before the play-offs.
"We were on such a high after that win but, in the end, Leek did what they had to do.
"It was a sickener for all of us and it hurt but we can't get side-tracked by the disappointment of missing out.
"We've got to focus on the positive of winning fourteen and drawing two of our final sixteen games.
"We've got to take that momentum forward, even though it's a long time until we start again, and remember the hard work we put in to get where we did.
"We want to have a good go next season.
"We all put so much into this season and we've got to make sure it doesn't come to nothing. It doesn't stop here.
"I can't guarantee success next season but I can guarantee the same work ethic from whoever goes out on to the pitch."
Leek knocked out runners-up Carlton Town on penalties in their play-off semi-final before losing 2-0 to Ilkeston FC in the final at the New Manor Ground. Ilkeston had demolished Sheffield 7-0 in their semi-final.
"I can't guarantee we would have won the play-offs but when we missed out, I'm sure all four team must have been relieved, because I don't think any would have wanted to face us," said Duffield.
The Nailers boss is hoping to keep most of his current squad together and has been boosted by the news that top scorer Jon Froggatt has signed a new one-year deal.
"We will be keeping the majority of the players and I don't expect to see too many moving on," said Duffield. "They have all said how much they are enjoying playing for this club and I would be disappointed if any wanted to leave.
"We need to add in one or two areas where we are short, while one or two will be let go.
"But, hopefully, it might be a more settled summer than this club has been used to in the past few years."