* OADBY TOWN 1 HEANOR TOWN 2
Oadby Town 1
Heanor Town 2
LEAGUE leaders Heanor Town showed they are high and mighty with a 2-1 win at fourth-placed Oadby Town who also had their unbeaten start to the season ended.
After storming into a two goal lead and playing their high-flying hosts off the park for considerably more than an hour, Heanor had to defend at the death to hold their lead after a controversial and harshly awarded penalty gave the hosts a way back into a game they never looked like getting.
Phil Austin came back into the side as the only change to a Heanor team looking to compete their ninth successive East Midlands Counties League win.
Oadby included new signing Jermain Gordon, ex-Hinckley FC, who joined them from Gresley where he played against the Lions in pre-season.
Heanor made a storming start and Keiran Debrouwer drove the second of two corners into the side netting. Heanor won ten corners in the first half hour as their hosts were penned back into their own half by the Lions power play.
Graham Wells hit a cross shot narrowly wide of the far post and Gary Webster volleyed narrowly over as Heanor won six corners in the first nine minutes.
From their seventh corner on 14 minutes, splendidly taken by Wells, NICO DEGIROLAMO jumped highest in a packed goalmouth to head the Lions deservedly ahead.
Moments later Joe Clayton nearly put the ball into his own net following a Heanor free kick and Jason Foster landed another free kick on top of the net.
It took Oadby 19 minutes to build up their first attack from which Craig Jacobs shot wide. But it was only brief respite.
athan Benger headed Wells in but home custodian Danny Handley punched the ball off his head and Foster tested the home goal again with another fierce volley which landed on top of the net.
Benger put Jake Vernon in on 28 minutes to double Heanor’s lead with a vicious angled drive that comprehensively beat Hanley.
The natives were getting distinctly restless in a bumper crowd of 211 and in the words of Clive Dunn in Dad’s Army ‘They don’t like it up ‘em’ seemed distinctly apt as the traffic was one way.
Benger’s shot on the turn was deflected for another corner and Vernon hooked a half volley wide.
Never has a team been so pleased to hear the half-time whistle as Oadby were. But they made a spirited start to the second half and Heanor had some defending to do.
But with the Lions distinctly in the driving seat you sensed that Oadby had to gamble and throw caution to the winds. It’s always a good sign for the winning team when those trailing make two early second half substitutions as Oadby did.
But it was winger Matt Piper who was the biggest thorn when he first saw a shot on the turn deflected for a corner, and then cut inside and shot wide.
Hanley made a superb save from Benger shot after outpacing two defenders until the 71st minute signalled depth of dire officiating from three officials who were, to say the least, woefully below standard for such a massive game.
Oadby were awarded a free kick which was taken quickly and the ball hit Benger in the back as he was walking away.
The referee inexplicably booked the bemused Benger for not retreating ten yards.
At the same time one of the Assistants called over the referee and Oadby manager Lee Harriman was sent off for foul comments which only the Assistant Referee heard.
The free kick came in and the natives behind the home goal went up as the ball brushed past Brett Peel’s hand.
Home players didn’t seem to appeal but a penalty was awarded and the decision was very harsh indeed.
Jon Stevenson struck the ball home and Oadby had a way back into the game which, without the referee’s help, they never looked like getting.
Michael Reeves’ header from a corner came back off the bar, Piper shot wildly over the bar and then Reeves repeated the act, but Heanor weathered the storm, including another shout for a penalty which, perhaps, had more clout than the first.
And the last few minutes saw Webster, Benger and Ryan Cancellara all go close to making a sweet victory all the more comfortable.
Oadby Town: Danny Hanley, Jack Lane, Steve Fenton, Craig Jacobs, Joe Clayton, Ash Palfreyman (Adam Parry 78), Callum Ross (Danny Wilson 57), Jon Stevenson, Jermaine Gordon (Andy Tiday 54), Michael Reeves, Matt Piper. Substitutes not used – Nick Grant, James Miller
Heanor Town: Mark Frost, Jason Foster, Phil Austin, Ryan Cancellara, Brett Peel, Nico Degirolamo, Gary Webster, Kieran Debrouwer, Nathan Benger, Jake Vernon (Danny Claridge 89), Graham Wells. Substitutes not used – Lee Stevenson, Danny O’Donnell, Phil Lower, Craig Hopkins
Referee: Ryan Goddard (Leicester)
Goals: Oadby – Jon Stevenson (72 penalty). Heanor – Nico Degirolamo (14), Jake Vernon (28).
Yellow card: Heanor – Nathan Benger (70).
Star Lion: Nico Degirolamo
Next in action
Saturday October 22 - East Midlands Counties League - Heanor Town v Ibstock United, 3pm.