Nine man Heanor Town showed character to win a fiery match 3-1 against Highgate
Heanor made a blistering start and won four corners in the first three minutes, before the visitors, who had never been to Heanor before, broke forward and Dale Taylor saw his shot saved by Scott Whittingham.
Heanor returned to the attack and from Nathan Benger’s cross Kieran Debrouwer header for the top corner brought a fine save from Bradley Catlow.
Kieran Debrouwer should have put the Lions ahead on 26 minutes having been put through by Benger, but he screwed his shot across goal and wide.
Heanor took a deserved lead on the half hour, when Jay Cooper chipped a lovely shot into the top corner.
The visitors immediately retaliated and Shane Benjamin shot an inch or two over the bar from the edge of the box
Debrouwer extended Heanor’s advantage in first half stoppage time from Cooper’s lovely through ball.
Heanor made a determined start to the second half and Debrouwer shot wide on the turn and then cracked the underside of the crossbar with a lovely 48th minute free kick which was no more than an inch away from a 3-0 advantage.
Then Heanor began to lose their impetus and for a good spell Highgate dominated the game.
They had two shots blocked in one attack before Whittingham saved from David Yonwin.
Debrouwer missed another chance to make the game save for Heanor when he was put through but allowed Catlow to race from his line and block the shot with his legs.
Highgate got back into the game when the Heanor defence switched off to a Tom Lacey free kick and Lei Brown scored.
Highgate now took the iniative and Heanor were pegged back for periods, relying of breaks from defence.
Things turned sour on 74 minutes when Danny Claridge was sent off after challenging Connor Mooney.
The situation became extremely heated and Steve Huntington was asked to leave the Heanor dugout.
When play restarted Whittingham seemed to drop under challenge and Brown scored again, but it was disallowed.
Ten men Heanor had to defend and Yonwin headed over for the visitors when he should have scored, and in the next attack Turner did the same.
The game boiled over with five minutes of normal time remaining after crowd trouble erupted.
Players joined in to try to stop the fracus, and when things calmed down the referee took the players to the dressing room for ten minutes.
The referee signalled seven minutes before Debrouwer to let fly into the top corner.
Danny Booth received his second booking of the game to leave the Lions with nine men.
HEANOR TOWN: Scott Whittingham, Greg Marriott, Chris Shaw, Danny Booth, Nick Hall, Regan Edridge, Chris Bettney (Oliver Naylor 33/Danny Claridge 64), Jason Foster, Nathan Benger, Kieran Debrouwer, Jay Cooper. Substitutes not used – Andre Johnson, Jamie Hannis, Alex Brown.
HIGHGATE UNITED: Bradley Catlow, James Cosgrove, Tom Lacey, Dean Curtis (Karl King 45), Scott Turner, Trevor Edwards, Dan Taylor (Adam Daly 84), Connor Mooney, Shane Benjamin (Avum Jephcott 80), David Yonwin, Lei Brown. Substitutes not used – Tyrone Smith, Richard Robinson.
REFEREE: Brian Boyle.
STAR PERFORMER: Kieran Debrouwer (Heanor Town).