Saturday, 22 February 2014

Heanor Town 4-3 Long Eaton Utd

Venue: The Town Ground, Heanor, Derbyshire.

Town - Crosby (55, 69, 73), Moran (85)
United - Armstrong (10), Grantham(12, 25)

As with most teams, Heanor's league programme has been badly affected by the recent weather, so I waited until this game was declared to be officially on before changing from our planned trip to see Basford take on Maltby Main. 

Not a bad decision as it happens! Basford went down 5-0 and the Lions came back from a 3-0 deficit at the break to grab all three points.

Heanor General Manager Scott Ward had lamented as to how bad his morning had been for one reason or another, and after 25 minutes of this game he must have been pulling his hair out!!!

Before the game, home keeper Mark Frost was presented with an award for reaching a century of games. There was also a very well  observed minutes silence in memory of Heanor Town legend Aubrey Ratcliffe before kick off.

United were sporting a startling lime green outfit, and looked to have quite a few players in their line-up over the 6ft mark. This was probably a disadvantage as the game wore on. They may have been three goals to the good after 25 minutes, but they had to work really hard to compensate for going down to 10 men, and as their stamina faded, the home team took full advantage.

United went ahead on 10, MICHAEL ARMSTRONG firing in a free-kick from the left that by-passed everyone in the area and nestled in the back of the town net. 


COUREY GRANTHAM had scored 15 goals in 20 appearances for Heanor earlier in the season, but after his loan spell at the Town Ground was over, his parent club Ilkeston FC sent him out to Long Eaton. You just knew the talented player would make an impact against his former team, and he duly oblidged, firing past Frost from the edge of the box in the 12th minute to extend the visitors' lead.


When the ball was played into Nathan Benger's path on 15, United keeper Cameron Mason raced out of his box and clattered into the Lions' striker, preventing an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and giving Referee Lisa Rashid little alternative other than to dismiss the young custodian.

Going down to 10 men didn't affect United at first, and GRANTHAM added their third on 25, stepping around Chris Shaw before curling his shot past Frost. Keiran Debrouwer had a great chance to reduce the home team arrears in the 39th minute, but after running in on goal and making space for the shot, he watched in agony as the ball flew just wide of the upright. H-T 0-3


Heanor Manager Glen clarence made two changes at the break, and they proved to be master strokes! Ryan Tinsley was replaced in midfield by Gerry Moran, and debutant Luke Crosby came on for Josh Raven, the big striker adding more firepower to the already potent looking attack force of Benger and Debrouwer.

It didn't take long for CROSBY to make his mark on the game. After collecting a neat ball in from Gary Webster, the striker turned well inside the box before drilling the ball past United's stand-in keeper.


Heanor were buoyed by this goal and piled on the pressure. It wasn't until the 69th minute though before the stubborn Long Eaton back line was breached again. CROSBY found space on the edge of the box, tried his luck, and was rewarded when his shot flew past the keeper's despairing dive.


CROSBY completed his debut treble on 73, racing in from the right and curling a spectacular left foot effort into the far top corner.



So, three all with 15 to go - could Heanor do it? Yes they could. As predicted the United players were struggling by now, and on 85  a cross from the left bounced over the advancing keeper. The ball landed neatly on the head of GERRY MORAN - the smallest player on the pitch gleefully steering the ball home from 12 yards to give the lions and unlikely victory. F-T 4-3


It was good to see a fair smattering of Eastwood Town supporters present - and well done to Heanor for allowing the Badgers' season ticket holders to use their tickets at the Town Ground.

Admission: £5
Programme: £1
Attendance: 168

Both Kev and I thought that Referee Lisa Rashid had had a decent game, but this thought was not shared by some of the home fans. She appeared to have called most of the important decisions correclty, and although she failed to allow advantage on a couple of occasions, we reckoned that the game was handled very competently.

Lisa Rashid