Dream debut for Crosby in Lions’ seven-goal thriller

Heanor Town v Long Eaton United (green)
Heanor Town v Long Eaton United (green)

Heanor Town came out on top in a thrilling local derby against Long Eaton United at the Town Ground on Saturday.

In front of a good-sized crowd of 168, the two local rivals produced a goal-packed contest which saw the Lions come storming back from 3-0 down to win the game, thanks in no small part by a couple of highly successful substitutions by manager Glen Clarence.

It was the visitors who made the first impression, taking the lead on 11 minutes

Michael Armstrong opened the scoring with a header past Heanor goalkeeper Mark Frost.

Courey Grantham, who had a loan spell with the Lions in the opening months of the season, made it 2-0 for Long Eaton as he used his pace to good effect before drilling home a right-footed shot.

On the quarter-hour mark, Long Eaton were reduced to ten men when goalkeeper Cameron Mason was sent off for a foul on Nathan Benger but Long Eaton initially made light of their numerical disadvantage and Grantham stretched the lead to 3-0 in the 25th minute.

But that was as good as it got for Charlie Palmer’s side.

Clarence introduced substitutes Gerry Moran and debutant Luke Crosby into the action after the break and their arrival paid major dividends.

With defender Danny Chambers between the sticks, Long Eaton came under relentless pressure and Crosby, who has had to wait almost four weeks for his first start, due to a combination of the bad weather and being cup tied, enjoyed a dream first appearance for the Lions.

He found the back of the net in the 55th, 70th and 74th minutes as the Lions drew level.

Then Gerry Moran was in the right place at the right time to head home what turned out to be the winner in the 84th minute to complete a memorable comeback for the Lions, who moved above their opponents in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division table.

They are now ninth.