Heanor Town 3
Bridlington Town 5
NCEL Premier Division
BRIDLINGTON Town scored two early goals in front of a very partisan home crowd only for a dogged Heanor Town side to bring it back level at 2-2 by the interval.
The visitors had added three more with just under 30 minutes left and didn’t look like conceding again until a lapse of concentration in time added on allowed Heanor to reduce the arrears.
Not surprisingly Mitch Cook stayed with the same 11 that started against Nostell the previous week and after being unavailable for that game both Billy Logan and Scott Phillips were included among the substitutes.
Heanor had former Football League player Neil Grayson, who turned 48 years old last month and is more often used as a substitute, making his 11th start of the season.
Brid had a dream beginning to the game when, in only the third minute, Tom Lee passed to Tom Fleming out on the left flank and with goalkeeper Damien Clark spilling his ball in, Nathan Cook was on hand to steer it home.
Heanor hit back to gain two corners but Wilberforce caught a header from Richie Holmes then Cook cleared away from Grayson at the far post.
With nine minutes gone Carl Stewart charged the ball down and ran into the penalty area before releasing it for Josh Greening to double the score.
Jordan Hall’s break down the left touch-line was halted by Chris Jenkinson, who came across to get in a solid tackle and put the ball out for a throw in, but on the quarter-hour mark the Lions pulled one back when their leading scorer Nathan Benger received the ball 25 yards from goal and turned to fire over Mark Wilberforce with a good strike.
The Seasiders were pressing forward more than their opponents and Craig Hogg headed over from Greening’s corner after an attempt by Ash Allanson had been deflected behind.
Stewart volleyed just wide when Cook won the ball and made a forward run before finding the striker then Cook himself narrowly missed following a neat build-up between Greening and Chris Batchelor.
Heanor had their moments but Gary Webster hit a centre too deep and Hall missed the target after making another run.
After 36 minutes, however, skipper Ian Clarke levelled the score with a deflected shot after Hall had got past Lee and his cross was only half cleared by the visitors.
Batchelor fired too high from a Hogg free kick, another decision that had annoyed the home support, then was involved in a move with Allanson from which Clark diverted Stewart’s effort behind with his legs.
From the corner Allanson drove well over the bar.
Town won two more quick flag-kicks before Cook headed an Allanson cross wide and Clark twice denied Stewart to keep it all square going into the break.
Straight from the restart Hogg missed a golden opportunity from 10 yards with the goal gaping, when he opted to go for power and struck the bar instead of placing his shot that was more likely to have reaped the benefit.
A quickly taken dead ball kick at the other end, given for a foul by Batchelor, was put wide by Grayson. Hall was off target from 25 yards and a Benger effort went narrowly past the angle.
Six minutes into the half Cook’s determined run took him to the edge of the 18 yard box from where he again gave his side the lead with a shot that took a slight deflection and deceived Clark.
Stewart and Greening combined to find Hogg on the right hand side of goal and another deflection from his attempt diverted the ball behind for a corner, from which two efforts were blocked before the ball was scrambled away by the home defence.
Gary Webster put a centre too far across the goalmouth then a timely tackle by Jenkinson halted another good run by the ever-dangerous Hall before the visitors increased their lead to three with two goals within three minutes.
In the 58th minute Stewart received the ball from Hogg and ran towards goal chased by Daniel Fields who clipped his foot just inside the penalty area.
After a delay for consultation with his assistant following Heanor’s protestations against the awarded penalty, referee Andy Newbold halted Stewart’s run up because he hadn’t blown his whistle giving Clark time to compose himself and make a good save from the spot-kick.
The alert Greening reacted quickest to retrieve the ball and play it back in for Carl Stewart to accept his second chance with delight.
The evergreen Grayson gave way to new signing Sam Kellogg from Borrowash Victoria on the hour but a minute later Fleming found Greening on the left side of the area and, after flicking the ball over Kyle Bryant, he went on to go past Richie Holmes before putting the ball beyond Clark and seemingly put the game beyond Heanor.
Phillips, on for Hogg, was brought down by Bryant just outside the area but Allanson hit the free kick too long and out behind the far side of goal. Stewart tried to set up Phillips twice before coming off with tightness in his leg muscles and probably with Saturday’s game against his old club Pickering Town in mind.
Heanor tried to get back into the game but Fleming cleared a cross from Webster and Wilberforce blocked Benger’s effort. Jenkinson brought substitute Graham Wells’ run to a halt after he had evaded two other tackles while Frank Belt’s intervention prevented Benger from making progress.
Greening was brought down outside the left side of the area and from Logan’s free kick Belt headed over at the far post with Cook waiting behind him.
The Seasiders appeared to be running the clock down and were caught a minute over the allotted 90 when Gary Webster cut in from the right and along the edge of the penalty area before despatching a left foot strike past Wilberforce.