Late penalty gift is gratefully accepted

East Midlands

Counties League

Premier Division

Heanor Town 2

Ibstock United 1

HEANOR Town recorded another Town Ground win but only after they were gifted a late penalty by Ibstock goalkeeper whose moment of madness in kicking out at Jake Vernon saw him sent off.

Graham Wells’ sore foot saw him restricted to the bench with Danny Claridge coming in as the Lions only change.

A hasty clearance from Shuttleworth saw Benger shoot wide from range with the keeper out of position on seven minutes, and two minutes later Degirolamo headed narrowly wide from a free kick.

When Brett Peel failed to clear a ball across the box Jack Kyte toe poked the visitors ahead after 13 minutes.

Disjointed Heanor were giving another tepid performance although Benger should have levelled on 22 minutes when he headed over the bar from a glorious Vernon cross.

There wasn’t much quality about the game at all, but Kyte shot narrowly over the angle on 34 minutes when Peel failed to clear again.

Ibstock’s plan of keeping the ball in the air prevented Heanor from playing their normal passing game, and the Lions consequently adopted similar tactics and the game degenerated into ping-pong over the half way line.

The referee and one of his assistants had largely failed to impress either with a series of baffling decisions and non decisions, but the assistant, who appeared more inclined to engage in a running conversation with spectators on the stand side for much of the game, cost Ibstock an interval advantage.

He was nowhere near up with play as Nico Degirolamo brought the ball out of defence on a splendid run before feeding Danny Claridge to cut inside and hammer the ball across goal into the bottom corner. But there was more than a hint of off-side about the scorer’s position when he received the 40th minute pass.

The second half deteriorated even further as referee ‘call me Tom’ Hawkins had a nightmare last half-hour. Both sides showed frustrations with some of his amazing decisions and frustrations eventually welled over resulting in him being called anything but Tom.

Ibstock’s Sam Adams clocked the first yellow on 61 minutes. Jason Foster followed for Heanor three minutes later, and in the space of 90 seconds the card was brandished in quick succession to Ryan Cancellara, Mark Frost and Nathan Benger.

Meanwhile Shuttleworth produced a fantastic one-handed 67th minute save from Benger’s goal bound header and Ibstock survived a penalty claim for a hand ball offence.

A free kick to the far post with ten minutes left saw the ball on it’s way out for a goal kick. Benger handled and was sent off for his second bookable offence, and then with 85 minutes on the clock pandemonium broke out.

Heanor attacked, Shuttleworth had the ball in his hands but instead of clearing kicked out at Jake Vernon.

There followed four minutes finger pointing before Shuttleworth duly got his marching orders amid much chagrin.

The assistant then got involved further and the result was that Ibstock’s Rich Wileman became the seventh player to be cautioned.

Substitute Mark Clifford came on for Ibstock, who sacrificed striker Jack Lewis, and went in goal. It was the 89th minute by the time Jake Vernon, taking over the role of penalty taker in the absence of Benger, bombed the ball past him. And that led to the brandishing of the dreaded yellow card for the eighth time when Vernon took his shirt off to celebrate the goal.

The goal was Heanor’s 50th league goal of the season.

There was still time for referee Hawkins to get involved again. Three minutes into stoppage time Vernon was on his way clear but a long way from goal when he was hauled down by visiting skipper Phil Brown, who became the third player to receive the red card.

Heanor got out of jail with the penalty; the game was poor fare; and the officials have much to answer for.

Unfortunately, it is the club who will have to answer for their discretions.

Heanor Town: Mark Frost, Jason Foster,Phil Austin,Ryan Cancellara,Brett Peel, Nico Degirolamo,Gary Webster,Keiran Debrouwer ( Lee Stevenson 45), Nathan Benger, Jake Vernon, Danny Claridge (Graham Wells 58). Substitutes not used – James Whitehead, Craig Hopkins.

Ibstock United: George Shuttleworth, Lee Baron, Dean Statham, Phil Brown, Rich Wileman, Jack Murray, Ryan Foster, Mark Chamberlain, Jack Kyte Ryan Pearce 85), Jack Lewis (Mark Clifford 88/Josh Lovitt 89), Sam Adams. No other substitutes.

Referee: Thomas Hawkins (Belper)

Attendance: 100.

Star Lion: Nico Degirolamo.