Heanor Town went into this game three points behind their visitors and with an inferior goal difference of five goals.
The Lions started with real conviction, Holmes narrowly missing the target in the eighth minute.
The opening goal came from an unlikely source, giant defender Brett Peel getting space in the penalty area to volley home a Kieran Debrouwer cross.
Two minutes later, Debrouwer struck a shot from 25 yards, flashing wide of the post.
Heanor were awarded a free kick on the right wing in the 17th minute. Chris Shaw’s excellent delivery curled towards goal, and it was unlucky to fly wide.
Pickering had a chance to level on 29 minutes, Josh Raven heading clear off the goal line, the young full back extending his recent fantastic form that has made him a fans’ favourite already.
Heanor went on the attack again, Holmes fed Debrouwer on half an hour, but his shot was just wide. He broke clear again on 32 minutes, and his powerful effort was stopped expertly by Callum Myers.
It took until the 35th minute for Heanor to double their lead. Debrouwer, assisted by Grantham, managed to fire low and hard into the net.
Pickering’s Reid received a booking in the 42nd minute, persistent fouling the reason for the referee showing the yellow card.
In the second minute of added time, Heanor were awarded a spot kick. Debrouwer took responsibility and he fired the ball high, beyond the reach of Myers, to bring Heanor a three goal advantage at the break.
When the sides returned after the break it was Heanor who again looked dominant. That man Debrouwer took his season’s tally to 24 on 58 minutes, finishing with ease after some great build-up play. His latest hat-trick being his sixth of a productive season, surely he will break records by the end of this campaign.
Pickering woke up in the 69th minute, the crossed ball to substitute Ged Dalton volleyed left footed into the top corner. This left Mark Frost very unlucky to be beaten in the Heanor goal in what was a solid performance from the experienced ‘keeper.
Two minutes later, centre back Matt Blake found himself free at the back post when attacking a corner, his volley into the bottom corner giving Heanor the four-goal advantage.
On 75 minutes, Frost made a great save but didn’t quite get enough on his palmed clearance. The ball fell to Josh Greening who powered the ball home.