Heanor Town end campaign with victory from nine-goal thriller

East Midlands Counties League

Premier Division

Ellistown 4

Heanor Town 5

TITLE WINNERS Heanor Town were in total control for an hour and played like champions on Tuesday night.

However, in a game of two hat-tricks and two penalties, a late flurry by the hosts had the Lions in some disarray before they added a fifth goal.

Nathan Benger put the Lions into the lead on ten minutes when he flicked the ball over the keeper and rattled it into an empty net.

Nico Degirolamo made it 2-0 when he headed home a Graham Wells cross on 18 minutes.

Benger volleyed the third in on 22 minutes and Heanor were coasting.

Ellistown were lucky not to be five or six behind by the time Ross Locker hit a spectacular shot from 35 yards out of the blue which sailed into the top corner of the Heanor net and it was 3-1.

The start of the second half saw Heanor still on top and Benger made it 4-1. A beautiful move down the left saw Wells put Phil Austin in for a left flank cross and Benger headed home for his third hat-trick of the season and his 46th goal of the campaign.

And when Wells was brought down on 55 minutes at the end of a run from deep in his own half, it looked as though Heanor would run away with things.

However, skipper Brett Peel elected to take the spot-kick but saw his tame effort, which amounted to little more than a back-pass, saved by Ellistown keeper Paul Madely.

The hosts were then hit by a second injury of the night with Jake Brown going off and Sam Saunt entering the fray.

Ellistown suddenly wanted to attack and on 76 minutes Saunt sent a 25 yard curling shot into the top corner and it was 4-2. It was a goal which had the home side believing they could perhaps get something out of the game.

Heanor had to defend strongly, even moreso when Saunt produced another glorious 20 yarder to bring it to 4-3 on 86 minutes.

Within half-an-hour of appearing to be coasting to victory, the Lions had resorted to hitting long balls out of defence to try and ease the pressure.

It was from one of these clearances though that the Lions got the crucial fifth goal when Stef Frost got onto one and raced clear to make it 5-3 on 89 minutes.

Ellistown did not give up and although there was a generous amount of injury time, Saunt made it 5-4 from the penalty spot on 90+6 minutes after Mark Littlewood was dragged to the floor by Carl Benson.

Heanor Town’s presentation evening is being held at Heanor Town FC Social Club on Friday, May 18th.