Lions move into top ten
Heanor Town 3-1 Clipstone
Heanor Town came from behind to win by 3 goals to 1 after goals from Jamie Sleigh and Samuel Birks aided their second-half revival.
After a slow opening 15 minutes to the game, the first goal came from the away-side Clipstone. Gary Armstrong played the ball across the face of goal for Mark Carter to stab in to make it 1-0.
The Lions tried to get back into the game, with Jordan Ball shooting wide from 9 yards out while under pressure from defenders.
On the stroke of half-time, Oliver Pratt raced in on goal only to be brought down for what seemed to be a clear penalty. The referee however, controversially gave the decision the other way and booked the full-back for simulation.
After the game, Heanor Town boss Neil Walton spoke of the incident, saying: “It’s all open to interpretation. The referees and the officials do a difficult job. I wouldn’t want to do it myself! Whichever side you’re on, you’re going to feel aggrieved.”
That incident was over-shadowed only three minutes into the second-half, when Walton’s side got themselves back in the game. The goal itself was a scrappy one, with persistency more than skill getting them the equaliser. After a series of shots, the ball deflected in off a Clipstone man and bounced into the roof of the net, sending the 140 Heanor fans into ecstasy.
Almost seconds after the match had kicked off again, Heanor were in again. Rob Ritchie-Smith found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Andy Francis, whom he skipped by with ease, only to find Jonathan Jenkinson in his way to block the shot.
After 53 minutes, another controversial moment came. Debutant Lions keeper Richard Froggart seemed to clash with a Clipstone forward in the air, only for the referee to wave away any penalty shouts. This seemed to motivate the home crowd and home team, as a swift break-away saw Ben Cartwright assist Jamie Sleigh to complete the 10-minute turn-around.
The final goal of the game came in the 71st minute from No.11 Samuel Birks, who like Sleigh, tapped home inside the 6-yard box to make it 3-1 after good work down the right flank.
Man of the Match Jordan Ball spoke after the game, saying that the team still need to up their game.
He said: “We still need that complete 90-minute performance, but we had a few new faces in today and I thought they looked good. Hopefully we can take that into the next few weeks and reward the fans.”
Walton’s men will take great confidence from their win and will try to take that spirit with them in their upcoming fixtures.
By Elliott Stockdale