Heanor Town Reserves 1 Staveley Miners Welfare Reserves 1
The new look Town Ground looked in excellent condition as the teams took the field for the first home match of any sort this season, writes Stan Wilton.
The pitch, a little scorched from the hot sunshine in places, looked magnificent. It was the Lions reserve side which was given the privilege of opening home proceedings this season.
A good gathering of 147 watched the encounter. Whether this was due to curiosity for the new look ground, the new club management, or just a lack of football in the town since last April, if this can be retained over the season and added to for the first team it really does bode well for the future of the club.
Staveley brought with them an unbeaten record from four games so far this term, and as runners up last season they provided strong opposition.
Shots on goal and goalmouth excitement were in a first half minority, but the visitors were on top for long periods, forcing Heanor to defend in depth and do it very well.
The fast pace of the game and the strength of the visitors forced Heanor to lump the ball far too often instead of attempting to control the pace of the game and passing it. But the young Lions survived well the first half pressure from a Staveley side who are going to be up with the leaders once again.
Nathan James shot wide for the visitors after an impressive 12th minute build up, whilst Dewberry just beat Barber to a wayward back pass at the other end.
Indeed, another needless and wayward back pass was almost latched onto by Smith and Duerden had a shot from distance saved under the bar by Dewberry. Minutes after losing Jordan Clark, Heanor fell behind when Lee Harris lifted the ball over a defender and hit a lovely low cross shot into the far corner from the right hand side of the six yard box.
Heanor hit back and Smith played a lovely ball through for substitute Danny Bonsall but once again Dewberry was quick out of the blocks to thwart the danger.
Moments before the interval, Heanor had another escape when a goalbound header from Jackson following a corner hit the bar and came out.
Heanor were a different side in the second half and confidence grew rapidly after they gained a 50th minute leveller courtesy of an own goal from keeper Dewberry.
Jordan Leeming’s inswinging corner from the right passed low in front of goal and may have got a couple of touches, but it appeared that the goalkeeper, in trying to keep the ball out, carried it over the line, although a linesman flagged for some infringement which referee Vallis ruled innocuous.
The young Lions looked to have taken the lead five minutes later when Davis sent home a thumping header from another corner, but this was ruled out for a spot of pushing.
Cherry punched a Bates shot over at the other end and the Lions survived a free kick on the edge of the penalty area when Barber handled, which looked from the terraces to be inside the area.
The impressive Duerden looked to scythed down when clear by Evans but the referee waved aside Heanor’s penalty appeals by saying the defender got a touch of the ball from behind.