HEANOR Town completed their quartet of away games with maximum points. A haul that, perhaps, they could not have expected at the time they went into it.
The last of these wins, at Blackwell last Saturday, were achieved without the presence of joint manager Craig Hopkins who was away on business.
Glenn Kirkwood said after the game that “Hoppo” had been on the telephone every two minutes throughout it and that it was “Like working with my right arm cut off” having sole control for the afternoon.
But once again the Lions’ large contingent of noisy support helped the players through a difficult game and a very difficult part of it.
“I thought that for the best part of an hour Blackwell were putting us under an enormous amount of pressure and were slightly the better side”, said Kirkwood.
“But the substitutions and our tremendous support from the terraces changed the whole game.
“The game today is about a squad game and sometimes you have to change things round during the course of one to make things happen. Players earn the right to stay in games when they are under pressure, and they then equally earn the right to win them when their chance comes”, he continued.
“I am very proud of our players. They work their socks off both in training and during games and it is this attitude which has got the club where it is today. I am also very proud of our support. They are brilliant and they help tremendously. The players will tell you what this kind of support means to them”.
It is quite a treck from the stand to the changing rooms at Blackwell but last Saturday Lions supporters started to make their way there a few minutes from the end of the game to complete their traditional clapping off of the team.
Josh Royce, with the Lions’ third goal in the home defeat by Barrow Town, had the distinction of scoring the 100th goal of the season. Nico Girolamo, with the first of the three last Saturday at Blackwell, had the pleasure of scoring the 100th league goal of the season – a wonderful achievement from 30 games – and the knowledgeable Heanor fans were quick to acknowledge that fact with their chants.
Nathan Benger with his first goal in the 5-1 home demolition of Holbrook Sports, scored the Lions 50th home game of the season back on December 10 last year, but Degirolamo popped up with the team’s 50th home league goal of the season in the 4-3 home win over Oadby Town.
There is one other landmark which is likely to be achieved before the end of the season, and that is the teams 50th away league goal. The three scored at Blackwell takes their current total to 49 on their travels.
Joint manager Kirkwood says that neither he nor the players have discussed the possibility of honours this season. And whilst this may well be true, the supporters have done nothing else.
The remaining fixtures of rivals have been scoured and discussed and there was probably as much interest in the recent visits of Borrowash Victoria and Oadby Town to Holbrook taken as there was in the Lions visit.
After their rocky patch earlier in the year Heanor knew that they might well have to take maximum points from their remaining games to have a chance of securing the title. It is a case now of so far, so good.
Borrowash are the only team currently able to catch Heanor, but even that scenario goes out of the window if the Lions can beat them in the attractive Easter Monday game on the Town Ground which has a 3pm kick off.
Heanor will, therefore, go into Saturday’s home game against Graham Street Prims (3pm) with the knowledge that by winning their last six league games of the season they will be champions. It is hoped that there will be a big crowd for the occasion.
And next Tuesday there is a break from league games when the Lions travel to Radford FC for the League Cup semi-final against Radcliffe Olympic (7.45pm) and for the winners there will be the right to meet Barrow Town, Holbrook Sports or Borrowash Victoria in the final.