Two of the Northern Counties Leagues in form teams met at The Town Ground on Wednesday night. A hard working, gritty performance from Heanor Town FC sent Brighouse Town back to Yorkshire feeling hard done by to not have a share of the points.
Heanor started brightest, the league’s top scorer Debrouwer swinging an effort just over the bar in the 11th minute. Just a minute later, Brighouse’s Thornton’s effort came off the bottom of an upright.
Mark Frost made the first of his many saves in the 17th minute, Boafo broke through and saw his low shot held well. Danny Williams nearly took the lead in unusual style in the 26th minute, his back header 15 yards out flashed past the far post.
Within a minute the referee chose not to book Brighouse’s Jagger for a foul on Grantham when it seemed to all in the ground it was a bookable offence, Peel was booked following a foul in the visitors penalty area after the free kick was taken. Peel’s clumsy challenge on the goalkeeper deserved the booking.
Both Debrouwer and Holmes had efforts come close, Debrouwer’s free kick on 38 minutes deflected over for a corner and Holmes in the 41st minute going out of play via the cross bar. H-T 0-0
Heanor started the second half in the same fashion, Hall shot high over the bar in the 53rd then Debrouwer saw his shot go just over in the 58th after a long ball from Frost landed straight to his feet.
It was in the 62nd minute that full-back Josh Raven found himself being tripped in the penalty area. The referee pointed straight to the spot, Debrouwer despatching the spot kick out of the reach of the goalkeeper for his 18th goal of the season.
It was that man Debrouwer who nearly scored again in the 73rd minute, his free kick well saved by the goalkeeper. Williams should have added to his 47 goals for the club in the 80th minute, heading over when it looked easier to score. Grantham was the latest player to see the woodwork prevent a goal, his effort in the 86th minute smashing against the bar.
Frost made another crucial save in the 87th, when a Brighouse forward broke free he saved low at his feet, deflecting the ball for a corner.
After that corner, a Brighouse forward hit an effort from the edge of the area, with Frost stranded after rushing to collect the ball all were relieved to see the ball crash back off the crossbar.
Heanor managed to hold on to beat a very good Brighouse side, taking The Lions to the top of the NCEL Premier Division form table.
Heanor simply are looking unbeatable on current form, with the same work rate and ethic that both sides showed during this match it is likely both sides will be in the mix at the end of the campaign.
Heanor: Frost, Raven, Shaw, Moran, Peel, Blake, Grantham, Hall, Williams, Holmes, Debrouwer.
Subs not used: Wallace, Davis, Granville, Crossley, Baker