Jay Cooper hat-trick helps Heanor Town crush Cleethorpes

Nathan Benger, Heanor Town ''Photo by Paul Morley
Nathan Benger, Heanor Town ''Photo by Paul Morley

A Jay Cooper hat-trick helped Heanor Town crush second-placed Cleethorpes Town 6-0 as they continued their good recent form.

The superb win was Heanor’s third in a row and moves them up to eighth in the table.

The Lions rotated the squad, bringing in Nick Hall to replace the unavailable Adrian Hawes at the heart of the defence.

Sean Gregory returned after a one game absence to replace Danny Booth who opted for a position on the bench due to mild illness and Jay Cooper taking a starting role with Ollie Naylor dropping to the bench.

Heanor started with blistering pace and showed a real attacking threat as Sean Gregory missed the target early in what was to become a bitter sweet game for the midfielder.

The opening goal came on 15 minutes when Sam Jones headed home Matt Richards corner.

Heanor doubled their advantage on 26 minutes when Jay Cooper went on a mazy run past it Daniel Grant before passing the ball past Brad Beattie.

With the Owls back line struggling to deal with Benger, Cooper and Debrouwer, it was no surprise that they gave away four free kicks in the first period around the edge of the penalty area.

And it was one of those that Richards capitalised on when his free-kick was fluffed in to the back of the net by Beatie to put Heanor Town firmly in control.

Cleethorpes very nearly managed to score on 37 minutes when a cross from Oglesby span off of Nick Hall’s head towards the back post and out for a corner.

Just a minute later Jay Cooper doubled his tally with another display of his pace and skill as he ran 25 yards before despatching the ball into the bottom corner to send the Heanor support into raptures.

The half closed with a routine stop from Ian Deakin when Alex Flett managed to find the chance to fire Cleethorpes’ only effort on goal.

It took seven minutes for Heanor to make it five goals to the good when Sam Jones drilled a ball high up to Nathan Benger who nodded the ball on to Jay Cooper to complete his hat-trick.

Cleethorpes then attempted a mini-revival as Brody Robertson fired high over the target and the league’s top scorer Marc Cooper collected a weak goal kick from Deakin to fire against the crossbar.

Sean Gregory, who had been impressive throughout, picked up a booking for his reaction to a late challenge on 67 minutes.

A late challenge by Gregory then saw referee Guy Stretton deservedly show the midfielder his second caution.

Heanor weren’t finished with the scoring yet, but Cleethorpes made it difficult, The Lions defended well for a ten minute spell of Owls pressure as Deakin saved Marc Cooper’s free-kick at the second attempt after the shot stung his palms.

Oglesby also tested Deakin on 83 minutes as the former Mansfield Town FC goalkeeper standing firm to claim yet another clean sheet.

It took until the second minute of added time before Heanor wrapped up the scoring when on-form Nathan Benger collected Debrouwer’s magnificent pass before beating Beattie from close range.