Heanor Town and Gedling Miners Welfare played out an entertaining high-scoring 3-3 draw in a classic game of two halves.
Gedling came out the traps the brighter of the two sides and the Lions were given a big let off within the opening five minutes.
A neat attack found its way to Courtney Hastings who was in acres of space in the penalty area but fortunately for Heanor, his shot went wide of the target.
After early warning signs, the hosts took the lead after 20 minutes when an errant backpass by Jack Coulson afforded youth goalkeeper Josh Mason-Barrett little time to clear the ball. His clearance fell to Gedling and two passes later they found the back of the net courtesy of Jack Jepson.
Jepson was left wondering how he didn’t double his and his side’s advantage five minutes later. Once again a Gedling attacker was given time and space in the penalty area but Mason-Barret made himself big to deny the marksman.
Josh Mason-Barrett was becoming a busy man and he was called into action to superbly deny Jepson five minutes from the interval. It was conceivable Jepson could’ve been celebrating a first half hat-trick.
Moments later, Gedling made their dominance count and Mason-Barrett could do nothing about it. Joe Meakins’ long-range drive beat the ‘keeper and looked to send the Miners into the interval with a comfortable lead.
However, the Lions were given a lifeline when Kyle Daley was brought down in the penalty area and Jamie Sleigh slammed the resulting spot kick down the middle to score his first goal since the Borrowash rout on the 24th November.
Manager Neil Walton changed the shape of his side by bringing on attacker Sam Birks for the makeshift full-back Harry Towner in an effort to win the game but it wasn’t a switch which paid dividends straight away as Jurgen Charlesworth restored Gedling’s two-goal lead, firing in from the edge of the area.
Once again the hosts failed to defend this advantage for long as almost from kick-off, Ben Cartwright found the substitute Birks and he kept his composure to round the ‘keeper and slot into the empty goal. Game on, again.
All of a sudden it was the Lions who looked the more likely to win and were level when Jesse Vowles beat his man before unleashing a rocket into the top corner.
There was one more big chance remaining and it fell to Heanor right at the death. Vowles had the freedom of the right-wing all afternoon and exploited it here when he picked out Daley at the back post, but he shot over when perhaps a little more composure was needed.
The result leaves the Lions still searching for their first win of the calendar year, and will look at Saturday’s trip to Clifton as the place to get it.
Josh Mason-Barrett; Harry Towner (Sam Birks HT), Jack Coulson, Jake Carlisle, Jake McIntosh; Jesse Vowles, Ben Cartwright, Max McClead, Kyle Daley; Rob Ritchie-Smith; Jamie Sleigh