It’s been a case of so far, so good for Heanor Town FC, with three wins out of three after the first exchanges of the campaign.
After bringing in 11 new players over the summer, you might have expected Glen Clarence’s side would need a little time to successfully blend the arrivals into the side, but the opening games have been very promising for Lions’ fans.
An opening day 3-0 win at Albion Sports was followed up last Tuesday by a 2-1 victory over visitors Pickering Town to leave Heanor top of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division after two games.
Then, on Friday night, the FA Cup was the focus as local rivals Long Eaton United were the visitors for a pulsating tie watched by a bumper crowd of 368.
Heanor took the early initiative as they looked to dominate the opening exchanges of the game.
A Gary Ricketts header on six minutes was the first chance of any real note and the veteran striker got on the end of a cross from Paulo Piliero to successfully score what turned out to be the only goal of the match.
Long Eaton found it easy to intercept Heanor’s passing play in the early stages but they rarely managed to keep possession.
Heanor’s Ady Hawes had the next chance to score but his effort was ruled out due to an offside decision in the 14th minute.
Piliero also went close for Heanor, his header prompting a save from O’Brien in the Long Eaton United goal.
After the break, Jamie Brown fired in a long range effort that went close after Chris Shaw’s blocked free kick had fallen to him while Courey Grantham hit the post for Heanor after a mazy run.
Heanor managed to restrict their visitors to very few clearcut chances and could have put the game to bed with five minutes remaining but Piliero’s snap shot was well saved.
Heanor’s reward is a tie at Spalding United in the next round.
The coming week sees the Lions taking to the road for three successive away games.
On Saturday, they are at Garforth Town. Then the Lions will be play at Athersley Recreation on Wednesday (August 27), followed by a trip to Spalding United on Saturday, August 30 for the aforementioned FA Cup game.