Henaor Town 3
HEANOR Town showed they have the stomach for the title fight by coming from behind to claim all three points at Ellistown on Tuesday night and go four points clear at the top of the table.
The Lions saw an early Gary Webster goal overturned by the hosts who equalised on 35 minutes and then snatched the lead just eight seconds into the second half.
However, Heanor hit back strongly and after Nathan Benger levelled on 64, substitute Graham Wells netted a dramatic winner on 79 with his first touch of the game.
Ellistown gave the Lions an early scare on three minutes when Robbie Johnson’s cross was missed by Rich Lewis in front of an open goal.
However, just two minutres later Heanor were ahead when home left back Luke Day got into a tangle with a right wing cross and failed to clear the ball and Gary Webster fired the Lions in front from ten yards.
Heanor went close again on 17 when a great cross from Phil Austin ended with Ash Grayson heading over.
Ellistown responded with another fine cross from Robbie Johnson which was headed wide from in front of goal by Jack Lewis on 19 minutes.
Three minutes later Robbie Johnson wasted a free kick just outside the penalty area as Heanor came under heavy pressure.
It wasn’t all one way though and Dave Moon’s cross was taken very well under the bay by home keeper Cahil Mann-Cler before Heanor almost doubled the lead when Moon was sent clear but his shot, under pressure and from a difficult chance, landed on top of the net.
Ellistown equalised on 35 minutes when Jack Lewis’s scuffed shot in a goalmouth scramble trickled over the line.
It wasn’t an undeserved equaliser but was the first goal Heanor had conceded in 439 minutes.
Four minutes later Gavin Saxby kept his side afloat with a fine save from Carl Sibson’s shot.
As half-time approached, Nathan Benger and Austin worked a fine cross for Moon who shot wide with only the home keeper to beat.
And the Lions were denied the lead a minute before the break when Mann-Cler produced a great save to keep out a Benger shot.
The hosts stunned Heanor by taking the lead straight from the kick-off at the start of the second half, Jack Lewis finding the net just eight seconds into the second period.
And as Ellistown enjoyed the ascendancy, Robbie Johnson cut inside but shot wide.
Heanor responded and Austin’s free-kick on 59 minutes brought a fine save from the home keeper before the Lions equalised on 64 minutes.
The home defence failed to clear a free kick from the right and Nathan Benger hooked home his 25th goal of the season and it was 2-2.
The goal galvanised Heanor and they suddenly upped the pace after being under the cosh for much of the match.
Lee Askham supplied a cross for Grayson but his header was tame.
There were two more turning points in the game. Firstly Saxby produced a great save from Robbie Johnson’s shot on 76 minutes to keep Heanor level.
Then substitute Graham Wells netted what could prove a priceless winner with his first touch of the game on 79 minutes as he finished Gary Webster’s cross to the far post and three more points were in the bag.
Ellistown: Cahil Mann-Cler, Sean Doy, Luke Day, Carl Sibson, Jamie Hunt, Aaron Shilliam, Robbie Johnson (Perry Johnson 81), Carl Timms (Sam Woods 75), Rich Lewis, Luke Dawkins, Jack Lewis.
Substitutes not used: Only two named.
Heanor Town: Gavin Saxby, James Whitehead (Lee Stevenson, h/t), Phil Austin, Ryan Cancellara, Brett Peel, Danny Cox (Graham Wells 78), Gary Webster, Ash Grayson, Nathan Benger, Dave Moon (Lee Naughton 55), Lee Askham.
Substitutes not used: Jamie Gee-Pemberton, Richard Hodgeman, .
Referee: Shaun Willoughby of Coalville.
Half-time: 1-1. Attendance: 56.
Goals: Ellistown - Jack Lewis (35 & 46). Heanor Town - Gary Webster (5), Nathan Benger (64), Graham Wells (79).
Bookings: Ellistown - Carl Sibson (68, dissent). Heanor Town - Phil Austin (70, unsporting conduct).
Star Lion: Brett Peel.