HEANOR Town surrendered a three-goal lead to end up with just a point in a 4-4 draw at Liversedge on Tuesday, the home side snatching a point with the last kick of the game.
Heanor started brightly, dominating the first half. They took just four minutes to take the lead, leading scorer Nathan Benger connecting with an Ian Clarke corner and planting the ball past Liversedge goalkeeper Paul Hagreen.
Liversedge replied with their only meaningful attack of the first period, levelling after eight minutes when Matthew Bugg slammed a goalbound shot which took a huge deflection before lifting over Simon Lillie into the net.
There was an instant reply from the visitors, leading again on ten minutes. A free kick into the penalty area found Benger with his back to goal but playing the ball to Dwayne Wiley, who planted the ball into the back of the net for his first goal for the club.
Heanor’s dominance really began to show with a three-minute assault of the Liversedge penalty area, claiming three corners and stringing pass after pass together but failing to make their controlling play count.
Lee Stevenson, taking his chance to impress with a rare start, surged forward time and again. A mouth-watering move involving Stevenson and Gary Webster down the right culminated in Benger narrowly missing the target.
That same pairing though proved to be a real success on 36 minutes, ending with a goal for the energetic full back. Making the overlap run past Webster, he passed the ball to Benger who in turn found strike partner James Rushby.
Rushby drove towards the bye line beating his man and crossing into the path of Stevenson who shot across the goalkeeper for a well-deserved goal by a player making his 190th appearance for the club.
Heanor continued their stylish play into the second period, Jordon Hall receiving a pass in midfield, sliding the ball to Benger who rattled it past Hagreen for his second goal of the game on 61 minutes.
Liversage suddenly came to life and won a corner off Phil Austin. This was cleared to the edge of the penalty area where substitute Jarrad Peltier was waiting to volley the ball into the net just 60 seconds later.
Liversedge cut the lead to one goal in the 75th minute, Luke Richardson mis-hitting a cross from wide out on the left and the ball sailed over Lillie.
Heanor came close to adding a fifth goal when substitute Karl Bryant hit a shot from 25 yards that fizzed just wide with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
Liversedge threw everything at Heanor during the final few minutes and with the referee adding on five additional minutes, they knew they had a real chance of snatching an equaliser.
It came with the last kick of the game, a corner cleared to the edge of the penalty area was lashed by substitute Kieran Corley into the top corner.
The home side celebrated as though they had won the championship, ecstatic at their remarkable comeback.
LIVERSEDGE: Paul Hagreen, Joe Hewitt, James Rothel, Chris Hirst (Kieran Corley 77), Darryl Leach, James Riordan, Matthew Thompson (Jarod Peltier 46), Tate Williams (Gibran Bojang 46), Matthew Bugg, Danny Toronczak, Luke Richardson. Substitutes not used – Oliver Sharpe, Myles Sturridge.
HEANOR TOWN: Simon Lillie, Lee Stevenson, Phil Austin, Dwayne Wiley, Richie Holmes, Nico Degirolamo, Gary Webster, Ian Clarke, Nathan Benger (Karl Bryant 73), James Rushby (Neil Grayson 67), Jordan Hall. Substitutes not used – Danny Naylor, Danny Cox.
REFEREE: Gareth Mellor (West Yorkshire)
YELLOW CARDS: Richardson (Liversedge) 86 for dissent; Bryant (Heanor) 85 for a foul.