Heanor started their FA Vase challenge for the season by hosting Holwell Sports in the second qualifying round. Heanor and Holwell faced each other regularly during The Lions’ time in the EMCL, where Holwell currently sit 4th from bottom.
The visitors included former Heanor club captain, Graham Wells, in their starting line-up. The winger playing a more forward role nowadays but most Heanor fans will remember his dedication to the club each time he made one of his 220 appearances.
Heanors performance left a lot to be desired, not just a tiny bit, the players looked uninterested for at least an hour and not even some wise words from the technical area seemed to kick life into them until a flurry of substitutes made an impact late on.
Within five minutes Ian Deakin had to pull off a reflex save to prevent another former Lion, Dean Randall, putting Sports ahead. His volley from 15 yards heading towards the bottom corner until Deakin palmed the ball to safety.
Kieran Wells fired straight at Richard Cragg three minutes later, the young forward declaring before the match that he fancied a hat-trick in this match.
On 24 minutes the deadlock was broke by Captain Nick Hall. Collecting a through ball and breezing past the slow Holwell centre backs he rolled the ball under the advancing Cragg into the net.
Benger hooked a shot narrowly over the bar on 38 minutes but Greg Marriott managed to find the target, slamming a shot home off the inside of the post with one of the shots you’d only expect from a full back. The young defender opening his account for the club with the powerful strike.
Debrouwer nearly opened his account for the season on 44 minutes, rolling the ball past two defenders, showing his skill at his very best, however, Shaun Denigan recovered to clear the shot off of the goal line as the half ended with Heanor taking a two goal lead.
Both Kieran Wells and Holwell centre back Stuart Rose were booked as they left the field of play for a verbal exchange the referee deemed unacceptable.
Holding a two goal lead against a stubborn side from a league below at half time can often be a tricky situation to be in, especially with former players returning. It was Graham Wells who halved his side’s deficit on 48 minutes, tapping home Scott Mooney’s cross past Ian Deakin. The goal celebrated by all Holwell Sports player, apart from the goal scorer.
On 53 minutes Benger and Piliero found themselves substituted for Jones and Grantham, shortly followed by Ricketts replacing Hall. The management opting to change the players for fresh legs and a more direct approach.
It took until the 71st minute for the score line to change, sparking a spell of three goals in five minutes.
Firstly Kieran Wells headed home a Courey Grantham cross; Cragg got a hand to the effort but only palmed it into his net. Wells followed up two minutes later by shooting with real vigour, beating the goalkeeper with place rather than placement.
On 75 minutes Heanors talismanic striker, Kieran Debrouwer, got his first of an injury disturbed season. Kieran Wells chased the defender down in the corner, collected the ball and with great ease rolled the ball to Debrouwer who took a touch and found the bottom corner with his shot.
Holwell Sports retreated deeper than their management had anticipated to try and stop the lethal finishing of the Heanor forwards, in doing so they just aided the free flowing football on view from The Lions.
Holwell did manage to break free and put the ball in the net on 82 minutes, Graham Wells collected the deflected through ball from his brother, Ian, and knocked the ball home. However, the eagle eyed assistant referee spotted he had moved a moment too soon and rightly flagged for offside.
Heanor wrapped up the win, and their involvement in the next round with a goal 4 minutes from time. Courey Grantham looks as confident as he ever has done of late and it was his trickery that created the chance, challenging for the ball on half way he raced clear, beat the covering defender with a neat bit of skill then side footed the ball to Kieran Wells who waited eagerly to roll the ball home.
Heanor: Deakin, Marriott, Shaw, Hawes, Henshaw, Strzyzewski, Piliero (Jones 53), Hall © (Ricketts 67), Benger (Grantham 53), K Wells, Debrouwer.
Unused substitutes: Moran, Rogers.
Man of the match: Kieran Wells