Heanor Town failed to win for the second game in a row as struggling hosts Clipstone held on to take a point on Saturday in a 1-1 draw.
The Lions remain hot favourites for the title given their games in hand on those around them, but will have been keen to return to winning ways when they hosted Radford on Wednesday night (22nd), after this week’s Ripley & Heanor News had gone to press.
On Saturday, they faced a young Clipstone side with an average age of 19 who had to soak up a lot of pressure from the Lions throughout.
The first chance of note came 17 minutes in when Clipstone keeper Sam Ogden had to tip an effort from Kieran Debrouwer over the bar, and a minute later Tom Weaver had to clear an effort off the line for the hosts.
But on 26 minutes Heanor led when a fine effort from Debrouwer was well blocked by Ogden but Jamie Sleigh was on hand to net the rebound from close range.
Clipstone responded with Jack Gibb’s header straight at Lions keeper Jordan Pierrepoint, before Heanor came close to a second when Kyle Daley struck the crossbar.
Despite further chances for the hosts they couldn’t create another clear opening before the break.
Heanor began the second-half well with Daley spurning two chances to extend the lead, before opportunities dried up for both sides.
The equaliser then arrived on 71 minutes as a long ball out of defence found Jack Warwick who held off his marker and placed a left-foot shot wide of Pierrepont and into the bottom corner of the goal.
Clipstone nearly took the lead five minutes later when substitute Sheldon McDonald won possession in the middle of the park and evaded several challenges before putting the ball through to Warwick near the area. Rather than return the ball to McDonald, the Cobras’ striker chose to shoot from just inside the area but it was straight at Pierrepoint.
On 84 minutes, good work by Debrouwer then created a shooting opportunity that Ogden did well to block and when the loose ball was fired goalwards Liam Carrington got in the way to block it.
Chances for Jordan Ball and Callum Lytham both went begging for Heanor in the closing minutes, as the home side held on for a well-earned point.
Following the Radford game, Heanor then host fellow promotion hopefuls Dunkirk on Saturday.