Plenty more to come from us, says the Lions’ boss Clarence

Chairman Geoff Clarence presents Nathan Benger with a bottle of wine to celebrate his 150th appearance for the club.''Photo by Paul Morley
Chairman Geoff Clarence presents Nathan Benger with a bottle of wine to celebrate his 150th appearance for the club.''Photo by Paul Morley

Nathan Benger made it a day to remember for both himself and the Lions on Saturday, coming off the bench to score a dramatic late winner in what was also his 150th game for the club.

The win marked Heanor’s sixth league victory in a row since the start of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division campaign.

Albion Sports, who Heanor beat 3-0 on the opening day of the season, were the visitors and were eventually beaten 3-2 thanks to Benger’s late intervention. Also on the scoresheet for Heanor were Sam Jones and Gary Ricketts.

The victory saw the Lions return temporarily to the top of the table and although they were overtaken by Handsworth Parramore on Tuesday night, they were looking to regain pole position when they took on hosts Maltby Main last night (Wednesday), after the News went to press.

Following on from last night’s game, the Lions are again on their travels on Saturday, when they play at Cleethorpes Town.

Manager Glen Clarence is happy with the start so far, as he feels his side is yet to really fire on all cylinders.

“We expected a better start than last season and we’ve got it. I don’t think many managers would say they expect six wins out of six but we’re certainly happy that that’s what has happened so far.

“We thought we’d be up there with the players we’ve brought in. We’re tighter at the back and although I’d like to see us play a bit more football and score more goals, we’re getting the results and we’re not even firing on all cylinders either.

“Apart from our opening day win at Albion Sports, we haven’t really played to our full potential so that’s a good sign because we are still picking up wins from some tough games.

“Last season we played one system but we’ve got more flexibility and depth in the squad now and we’ve been able to change it around more. We’ve got quality players coming off the bench to replace other quality players and that shows we have a bigger squad with more depth to work with.”

He praised the solidity of the squad in general and also Nathan Benger, who marked his landmark appearance with Saturday’s winner.

“Nathan knows he’s not going to start every game but he will start some and play a big role. He is a proven goalscorer and his attitude has been excellent too.”

There was also news on goal machine Kieran Debrouwer, whose return from a broken ankle is getting closer.

“Keano coming back will be a big boost and add to our firepower. He’s coming along well in his recovery and touch wood he could be involved in the squad maybe even as close as Saturday. We’ll wait and see how he gets on this week.”