Lions fall to a first home defeat in formbook clash

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East Midlands

Counties League

Premier Division

Heanor Town 2

Anstey Nomads 3

HEANOR Town slipped to their first home defeat of the season as visiting Anstey extended their unbeaten run to 13 games courtesy of goals from Simon Alexander, Darren Taylor and Chris Rudkin.

Both sides were at full strength for this top-of-the-table clash and quick tackling Anstey immediately showed why they are on such a fine current run of form.

Indeed, the first attempt at goal came 12 minutes in from Shane Gibbs which Mark Frost saved easily.

Heanor played some excellent football but made little impression on a determined visitors’ defence although Nathan Benger had an 18th minute half-volley saved by Stefan Joyce.

A wind assisted ball into the area from Craig Lynch hit the bar with Frost beaten and when Wade Ball headed home the rebound it seemed the 24th minute off-side flag got Heanor out of jail.

Anstey fought hard for every ball and gave Heanor no time or room to play their attacking football in their own half and it was hardly a surprise when the home defence failed to clear a low cross from Chris Rudkin and SIMON ALEXANDER slipped them ahead.

Heanor’s best first half effort had come much earlier and ended with Danny Claridge shooting so high over the bar that one of the home Committee had to give chase for the ball on his bicycle!

Keiran Debrouwer shot just wide on the turn near the interval of a game in which Heanor’s 55-goal attack had made little impression on the Anstey defence.

Frost’s poor clearance fell to Ball whose first time shot from distance was fortunately wide for the Heanor custodian six minutes after the break.

Heanor put on much pressure, but Anstey expected this and defended well and in depth and in front of goal Heanor hardly had a sniff.

Jason Foster’s wind assisted free kick caused Joyce more problems than the home forwards and he had to be alert to flick the ball over his bar.

What can only be described as clumsy defending between Nico Degirolamo and goalkeeper Frost presented DARREN TAYLOR with a 59th minute open goal and Heanor with a mountain to climb.

Jake Vernon worked a rare sight of goal but shot straight at Joyce before JASON FOSTER’s second attempt at a wind assisted free kick deceived the goalkeeper and gave the Lions hope after 69 minutes.

Backed by their biggest league crowd of the season Heanor introduced substitutes and poured forward. Brett Peel, who performed admirable at both ends of the pitch, headed narrowly wide and Benger shot over on the turn. Foster was a whisker too high with another free kick although Joyce cleverly watched this all the way.

Apart from being impressive in defence, Anstey were fast and direct in attack and Ball might have restored their two goal advantage but Frost saved well.

Five minutes from the end Stephen Armson’s great run down the left and equally impressive cross saw Frost get a palm to the ball but not enough of anything else to divert it away from the path of CHRIS RUDKIN who, to the great delight of a good following from Anstey, surely had put the result beyond doubt.

To their credit Heanor didn’t give up but it was too little to late by the time Debrouwer’s eight-yard shot clattered the crossbar and JAKE VERNON stooped to head the ball in two minutes into stoppage time. It proved to be the game’s last touch.

And so, after conceding 26 goals in their last four meetings with the Lions, there was justified delight at the extracted revenge Anstey took against a Heanor side who played like the hype of the forthcoming Chesterfield tie had been put ahead of their league ambitions.

Match stats

Heanor Town: Mark Frost, Jason Foster, Phil Austin, Ryan Cancellara (Lee Stevenson 82), Brett Peel, Nico Degirolamo, Gary Webster (Stef Frost 45), Keiran Debrouwer, Nathan Benger, Jake Vernon, Danny Claridge (Josh Royce 62). Substitutes not used – Rockie White, Matt Foster.

Anstey Nomads: Stefan Joyce, Oliver Preston, Craig Lynch, John Armson, James Edmonds, Simon Alexander, Chris Rudkin (Warren York 89), Shane Gibbs, Darren Taylor, Wade Ball, Stephen Armson. Substitutes not used – Neil Bruce, Julian Frattaroli, Kyfer Leech.

Referee: Mick Gilvarry (Sheffield)

Attendance: 137

Yellow card: Nathan Benger (dissent) after the conclusion of the game.

Goals: Heanor – Jason Foster (69), Jake Vernon (90+2). Anstey – Simon Alexander (35), Darren Taylor (59), Chris Rudkin (85)

Star Lion: Brett Peel

Next in action

Saturday December 3

East Midlands Counties League

Graham Street Prims v HEANOR TOWN (3pm)

Reserves no game.