Saturday, 20 August 2016

Nicking the Win is Heanor's Crime

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Friday 19 August 2016 at The Town Ground
Heanor Town 3 Long Eaton United 2
FA Cup Preliminary Round
I’m here because I happen to be in the Midlands on a Friday.  This game is on a Friday because of the space-sharing between Heanor’s football and cricket clubs.  The cricket club get Saturday priority.  Ground 590 for the lifetime list.
Pre-match preparation
Both clubs play at Step 5 in the Midland Football League and Long Eaton lead the division with two wins from two whereas Heanor have had a win and a draw.  In the FA Cup, Heanor beat Hinckley in a replay in the last round and Long Eaton won at Oadby Town.  It’s early in the season, though, and this match is too close to call.  Forgot to charge my main camera battery though, so still pix are not up to recent standards.
This match in one sentence
Heartbreak for Long Eaton in the dying seconds as Heanor take the lead for the first time in the game from a set piece.
So what?
Heanor Town travel to Matlock Town in the next round, and Long Eaton concentrate on the League, the Vase, the League Cup, the County Cup etc etc.
The drama unfolds
As the teams were announced, several of the Long Eaton names were identified as “former Lions” so I wondered whether there would be an edge to the game.  It was soon clear that this would be a good contest.  I think Step 5 sides are getting bigger.  No sign of a five-foot-eight trequartista anywhere on this pitch.  This was end-to-end and direct, sometimes too much so with long clearances going through to the opposite keeper with not a lot in between.  Long Eaton looked trickier and cockier on the ball but no-one has told #9 Gary Ricketts of new FIFA Rule 56 which says that it is a foul every time he goes within one metre of a defender.  He looked a bit frustrated to be fair.

Heanor made their presence felt and had three half-chances in quick succession to keep Jamie Hannis busy in the Long Eaton goal.  Long Eaton took the lead from a break down the left.  Jerome O’Connor brought the ball to the edge of the area and timed the layoff well.  Keeper Joe McCormack got a touch but Ricketts got the goal and looked happier.  0-1 after 40 mins and at half-time

Heanor levelled soon enough when captain Chris Smith poked the ball in after a scramble following a corner.  1-1 after 50 mins

The lead did not last too long though as O’Connor beat McCormack to a bouncing ball and he lifted it over the keeper into the net.  1-2 after 60 mins

The heavens opened in defiance of the BBC Weather App and I took refuge in the stand behind the goal, embedded alongside a Heanor Banter Machine who kept up a non-stop tirade of occasionally comprehensible inside jokes with the rest of us trying not to snigger.  I had to look up one reference in the Urban Dictionary and I hope to goodness I have never been accidentally sexist when buying a sliced loaf in Derbyshire.  Meanwhile, as the rain eased, Chris Smith repeated his right-place-at-the-right time feat and brought the scores level again.  2-2 after 83 minutes

Tempers frayed and there was a long consultation between referee and assistant before a yellow card was shown to a Long Eaton player, with the home supporters and bench clamouring for red.  The benches needed calming down too.  We therefore had a few minutes of stoppage time before the game would finish as an honourable draw … until this set piece.  3-2 in stoppage time

That is Heanor’s Joe Naylor with the glancing header as they take the lead for the first time with well over 90 minutes on the clock.  Long Eaton tried to score from the halfway line at the restart but to no avail.  Heanor had pinched the win.  What a great game for the passing neutral.  Final score 3-2
Ground Pix
This is a one-of-a-dying-breed ground full of character and characters.  Loved it.  In effect a three-sider as no spectators are allowed along the touchline which runs through the cricket outfield.  Still unsure about mascots to be honest, but I suppose there has to be some way for Politics graduates to enter the useful workforce.

Match Pix
Heanor are in the white shirts.

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Green beats Orange.  Full table at the end of the month, but Green is doing very well, thank you.

What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  New term starts soon so decisions will be last-minute.  Good luck for next Thursday to any of my GCSE student stalker-readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment