Tuesday 17th April 2012
East Midlands Counties League
ELLISTOWN 4 HEANOR TOWN 5
What a final game of the season this proved to be! For an hour Heanor showed what worthy champions they are. They were 4-1 ahead and missed a penalty. Enter substitute Sam Saunt for an Ellistown side staring relegation in the face and needing to win. His hat-trick had the title winners hanging on for the points.
Injuries robbed the Lions of Lee Stevenson
and Jake Vernon so Danny Fields came in for his debut, showing what a tough tackling midfield he can be.
Jim Smith volleyed over the bar as the potential wooden spoonists made a spirited start.
But it was soon Heanor showing the sort of form which has bought the title to the Town Ground. Brett Peel
’s fifth minute header from a corner was scrambled off the line by Tom Sansome. Then two corners later Nathan Benger
had a shot blocked on the line.
The onslaught continued and the champions crushed their hosts with three goals in 12 minutes.
volleyed in Gary Webster
’s tenth minute cross to set Heanor’s large travelling contingent singing.
Another super Heanor move ended with NICO DEGIROLAMO heading home Graham Wells splendid cross eight minutes later. And a clever BENGER flick over goalkeeper Paul Madely ending in a shot into the empty net following a right wing cross on 22 minutes saw the Lions in total command.
Between the goals, Madely had clawed down a goal bound shot from Danny Fields and saved a fine header from Josh Royce.
Royce then had a shot tipped over; Benger saw his fierce shot saved; and Royce hit the bar with another thunderous shot. Heanor’s football was simply breathtaking.
ROSS LOCKER pulled a goal back for Ellistown on 39 minutes with a spectacular shot from all of 35 yards which saw the ball dip just under the angle, and this was the 50th league goal conceded by the Lions this season.
BENGER completed his third hat-trick of the season and goal number 46 of a splendidly rewarding campaign four minutes after the break with an excellent far post header from Phil Austin’s cross.
Ellistown hit back briefly and Carl Benson had a shot saved by Tom Gutteridge before a fine run by Wells saw him brought down from behind by John Manning. Skipper Brett Peel
was encouraged to take the penalty and Madely saved his tame 55th minute shot.
Wells made another splendid run but fired into the side netting and then Ellistown lost Jake Brown with an injury and substitute Sam Saunt took over the game and gave his team hope.
Suddenly the Lions fourth match in eleven days started to take its toll and led by Saunt Ellistown began to press hard.
Carl Benson, yards offside, was allowed to run clear but Gutteridge saved splendidly, and almost immediately he produced another good stop from Locker.
SAUNT hit a splendid 20-yard bending, swerving shot into the top corner on 76 minutes for the goal which the home side had threatened for some time.
Another 20-yard shot into the top corner from SAUNT with four minutes of normal time remaining reduced the arrears further, and with Heanor now defending desperately, only a dramatic goal line clearance prevented parity being restored.
With Ellistown pushing up for an equaliser a long clearance sent STEF FROST clear from his own half to draw Madely and put Heanor 5-3 up with 89 minutes on the clock.
But Ellistown didn’t give up and when Mark Littlewood was dragged down and fell on the ball six minutes into stoppage time he was harshly yellow carded and even more harsly saw a penalty awarded against him from which SAM SAUNT completed a tremendous hat-trick. It was the last kick of a remarkable game.
ELLISTOWN: Paul Madely, Tom Sansome, Luke Harris, Carl Tims, Jamie Hunt (Mark Schofield 38), John Manning, Jake Brown (Sam Saunt 59), Alun Jarvis, Ross Locker, Carl Benson, Jim Smith (Courtney Bartley 64). Substitutes not used – Simon Dye, Ryan Silverton.
HEANOR TOWN: Tom Gutteridge, Mark Littlewood, Phil Austin, Danny Fields, Brett Peel
(Jason Foster 77), Nico Degirolamo, Gary Webster
, Josh Royce, Nathan Benger
(Tom Land 73), Stef Frost, Graham Wells. Substitutes not used – Glenn Kirkwood, Craig Hopkins.
REFEREE: David Webb (Derbyshire)
STAR LION: Nathan Benger
YELLOW CARDS: Carl Benson (Ellistown) 88 minutes. Mark Littlewood (Heanor) 90+6.