East Midlands Counties
Heanor Town 2
Holbrook Sports 1
HOLBROOK Sports let slip a two-goal lead in the last 12 minutes to suffer a Bank Holiday Monday defeat at the hands of local rivals Heanor Town.
On a bone hard pitch and in hot sunshine the first half was a scrappy affair with the ball hardly ever out of the air.
Simon Lillie went down well to stop Lee Stevenson’s sixth-minute 35-yard free kick, and seven minutes later Dan Williams’ header from James Whitehead’s free kick forced another save from the Holbrook custodian, but there wasn’t too much else to shout about early on.
Holbrook wasted a free-kick on 20 minutes after Frost was penalised for picking up a back pass, but the visitors continually pushed Heanor back with their more determined play.
And they grabbed the lead on the half-hour mark when good work from Nial Mather saw him dispossess Whitehead to cross the ball for Lee Mitchell to drive them ahead through a sea of legs.
Heanor won their first corner on 38 minutes which summed up the game’s possession, and then Lillie touched a Lee Askham shot from distance round the post in first-half stoppage time.
Nathan Benger and Jamie Gee-Pemberton replaced Askham and Ryan Cancellara at the interval for Heanor, who got the ball down and began to play delightful touches.
Benger hit a free -kick high over the bar and then failed to find the target from Gary Webster’s pass, but the Lions’ leading scorer was already making his presence felt.
While the second half largely belonged to Heanor, the Brookies also provided excellent football, and one such move on 68 minutes ended with Emeka Ejiofor shooting over the top.
Richard Hodgman’s introduction on the hour meant Heanor had used all their substitutes and they were largely responsible for lifting the pace of the home side.
But Holbrook almost sealed the game on 64 minutes when Ejiofor’s bicycle kick following a throw-in came back into play off the face of the bar.
Heanor’s pressure finally told in the 78th minute when, for once, the immaculate Holbrook defence failed to clear and Benger drove home is 29th goal of the season.
Backed by some loyal home support, there was only ever going to be one winner, although Holbrook went close themselves to a point they perhaps deserved.
Two minutes of normal time left and Heanor pressing saw Kane Jellyman trip Graham Wells on his way to goal and Whitehead obliged with the perfect penalty to give Heanor only their second win in the last eight games.
There was still time for Wells to put Benger through to really settle it.
A fully fit Benger would have done but credit him for coming on and doing what he did in the second half.
But it was Lions’ custodian Mark Frost who clinched the points with an aerial tip over from Anthony Tansley’s header in injury time.
Heanor Town: Mark Frost, James Whitehead, Phil Austin, Ryan Cancellara (Nathan Benger 45), Brett Peel, Lee Stevenson, Gary Webster, Ash Grayson, Dan Williams (Richard Hodgman 60), Lee Askham (Jamie Gee-Pemberton 45), Graham Wells. Substitutes not used – Danny Cox, Craig Hopkins.
Holbrook Sports: Simon Lillie, Kane Jellyman, Nial Mather, Jack Colllinson, Anthony Tansley, Chris King, Rob Harrison, James Ozmen, Vaughn Hallsworth (David Hind 75), Emeka Ejiofor (Chris Saunders 85), Lee Mitchell. Substitutes not used – Ben Gibson, Gavin Whitehead.
Referee: Matthew Turton (Chesterfield)