League Cup, semi-final
Heanor Town 0
Radcliffe Olympic 1
HEANOR Town’s hopes of reaching the league cup final were ended in dramatic fashion on Tues day night when Ryan Smith headed the only goal of the semi-final for Radcliffe Olympic with barely 15 seconds of normal time left.
It was a bitter pill for Heanor to swallow but they had several untaken chances throughout to look back on.
In this last four game of the competition played at Radford, Radcliffe began strongly but it took twelve minutes for the first real piece of action with Heanor keeper Tom Gutteridge touching out a ball from Kieran Walker to Ashley Whitt.
As the Lions took the sting out of Olympic’s flying start, Neil Grayson headed wide from a Gary Webster cross on 18 minutes.
A minute later, Grayson headed a pass into the penalty area and Webster shot wide.
There was plenty of good attacking play from Heanor but no-one really attacked the ball in front of goal.
Radcliffe hit back and on 28 minutes gutteridge saved a rasping shot from Kieran walker who really should have done better as he had time and space eight yards out but shot straight at the keeper.
Graham Wells had a shot blocked for Heanor and from the rebound Brett Peel shot wide.
In the moments leading up to the interval, Olympic keeper Lance Walker saved from Wells who had been sent clear and Grayson’s header from a Webster cross shaved the outside of an upright which brought a goalless scoreline at half-time.
Heanor began the second half attacking hard but then Radcliffe hit back and Gutteridge turned a low shot from Eddie Price around a post.
From the corner, Degirolamo headed clear Kieran walker’s header off the line.
Radcliffe began to grow stronger and Ashley Whitt shot over the bar as Heanor came under a great deal of pressure.
Olympic won three corners and the Lions began having problems in clearing their lines.
Indeed, several shots were cleared off the line from good crosses.
It was not all one way by any means and after a sheer piece of skill from Stef Frost had got Heanor going again, Grayson volleyed into the side netting before repeating the feat afte cutting inside.
Heanor made a double substitution on 66 minutes with Wells and Grayson being replaced by Jake Vernon and Nathan Benger.
The latter’s first shot was pushed onto a post by Radcliffe keeper Lance Walker on 74 minutes and Carl Slater came the width of a post away from giving Heanor the lead with the follow up shot.
On 83 minutes a deflected Slater shot was saved by Lance Walker who followed up by producing the save of the tie from Benger after he had raced clear onto Slater’s pass.
Benger then put a cross onto the top of the bar but with barely 15 seconds of normal time remaining, Radcliffe broke clear and from a cross, Kieran walker’s header hit a post and Ryan Smith headed Olympic into the final.
Heanor Town: Tom Gutteridge, Mark Littlewood, Lee Stevenson, Rocky White, Brett Peel (c), Nico Degirolamo, Gary Webster, Carl Slater, Stef Frost, Neil Grayson (Jake Vernon 66), Graham Wells (Nathan Benger 66).
Substitutes not used: Julian Capuano, Matt Foster, Craig Hopkins.
Radcliffe Olympic: Lance Walker, Ross Lawrence, Mike Hartshorn, Ashley Miles (Ben Elliott, h/t), Wes Spencer, Bob Burton, Jonny Kemp, Eddie Price (Ben Middleton, 90+1), Kieran Walker, Ryan Smith, Ashley whitt.
Substitutes not used: Liam Thompson, Ash Harrison, Matt Gamble.
Referee: Steven Abbott of Sutton-in-Ashfield
Radcliffe Olympic - Ryan Smith (90).
Heanor Town None.
Radcliffe Olympic - Burton (85), Mike Hartshorn (87).
Star Lion: Brett Peel.