Heanor face a must win game

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SEVEN points dropped in the last three games means that it has been indeed a bad week for Heanor Town’s title aspirations. And the main cause has been missed chances.

The 2-2 midweek draw at Gedling Miners Welfare brought up Heanor’s ton of league goals this season, the first club this term to achieve this figure. Lee Askham had the distinction of being credited with bringing up this milestone.

The game also brought up the milestone of Heanor’s 400th post war league draw from 2,059 games, of which 952 have been won and 707 lost.

Everyone at the club knew it would be hard at Hinckley. The Leicestershire side were undefeated in their previous 15 league games, and backed by a wealthy chairman who is putting big money into his team, they proved indeed that they are a class side.

Most Heanor supporters left Hinckley last Saturday convinced that they will be the team to beat next season. They have the money, the ground, and the ambition, albeit at the mercy of one man’s finance, but that is how successful football clubs are run these days.

In past years when the club were known as Hinckley Downes FC, many in the East Midlands Counties League were convinced that the club were a reserve side for the Blue Square Bet North outfit Hinckley United. Indeed, club officials did not deny this, although they got away with it by being a separately registered club.

Not any more though. This Hinckley club is independent, although one wonders with Hinckley United still reportedly having an unsettled tax bill and being banned from the transfer market, how long this situation may last and whether the Hinckley FC chairman might be tempted on board by the higher status outfit.

Despite the seven points dropped, not too much damage has been done to Heanor’s title hopes providing they were able to win at Bardon Hill last night (Wednesday). There is another big obstacle this weekend though, with a trip to Borrowash Victoria, who last weekend took over from the Lions as league leaders.

This vital clash kicks off at 3pm and one thing on the Lions side is that they have an excellent record at the Robinson Construction Bowl. It is definitely one of their lucky grounds.

It will need to be on this occasion because anything less than a Heanor win, with four difficult games still to be played, will almost certainly put them out of the championship race and the promotion which goes with it.

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The players are still up for the challenge and bringing back Jay Lee Hodgson for the Gedling game was certainly a rabbit from the hat on the part of the Heanor management. And the good news is that Hodgson was likely to be available for last night’s game at Bardon Hill, along with another Shepshed regular and former Lion, Sam Leggitt.

Lee Naughton, Jimmy Gee-Pemberton and Tom Norris are now all back in contention for a first team place and Dan Williams is also fit for this week’s games. Nathan Benger is still struggling with his hamstring, but that apart Heanor should be back to a full strength squad for their last six games, which even Joint Manager Glenn Kirkwood says the team must win in order to be pretenders for the title.