Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Heanor Town 1-2 Arnold Town

NCEL Premier Division - Tuesday 7th August 2012. Kick off 7:46pm

Arrived too late to get a programme and couldn't quite hear the tannoy  - great start to the evening.  It didn't get much better as these teams struggled to play any football - and on a pitch that was as good as you could ever dream of playing on. The Town Ground surface was absolutely pristine and was tailor made for passing the ball about. Unfortunately both teams seemed to favour the high punt into the air - real stiff neck stuff at times.

Gary Hayward has put together a decent squad of players since he moved to Eagle Valley, but he also seems to have recruited a huge backroom staff, most of whom were standing in front of the dugout issuing instructions and blocking several people's view.  

The technical area relates to matches played in stadiums with a designated seated area for technical staff and substitutes as described below.
While the size and position of technical areas may differ between stadiums, the following notes are issued for general guidance:
  • the technical area extends 1 m (1 yd) on either side of the designated seated area and extends forward up to a distance of 1 m (1 yd) from the touch line
  • it is recommended that markings are used to define this area
  • the number of persons permitted to occupy the technical area is defined by the competition rules
  • the occupants of the technical area are identified before the beginning of the match in accordance with the competition rules
  • only one person at a time is authorised to convey tactical instructions from the technical area
Most referees are fairly strict about this, but tonight, the man in the middle didn't say a word.  I don't claim to know the league rules reference technical areas, but I'm quite sure they don't allow for half a dozen or so people to populate them.

Arnold had a backbone of Blackwell players from last season, but when you add quality players like keeper Danny Marshall, Rob Gill, Steve Chaplin and Josh Schofield to the likes of  Large, Blake, Leak, Campbell and McShane, you can't help be very competitive at this level.

Andy Campbell had the chance to put Arnold ahead on 10, but his header flew just over the bar.  Nathan Benger had Heanor's first chance just seconds later, getting on the end of a free-kick into the box - unfortunately his flick went just the wrong side of the post.

Benger was played in by Danny Fields on 26, but his volley failed to trouble Marshall who had his near post well covered.  Aaron Large had a long range effort fizz past the post seconds later.

Bengers' next contribution was a cracking cross from the right that STEF FROST met with a powerful header at the far stick, the effort giving Marshall no chance. 

The lead lasted barely 60 seconds though, ROB GILL stroking the ball past Lillie after Large picked him out with a superb through ball. H-T 1-1

The Eagles took the lead five minutes into the second half, this time it was LARGE who received the through ball and fired a controlled volley from the corner of the penalty box past Lillie.

Heanor had chances to get something out of the game, but their usually deadly attack was sadly, for the Lions' faithful at least, a little toothless.  Jake Vernon squandered the first of a trio of opportunities in the 70th minute, after he fired limply at Marshall when put through one-on-one from a quickly taken free-kick.

A minute later Frost shot wide after he was played in on goal.  Benger had the easiest of chances on 86 though. The striker was well placed in the 6 yard box, and met a cross from the right well enough with his head, but watched with some dismay as the ball sailed over the bar. F-T 1-2

Heanor have only added a couple of players to last seasons championship winning squad - I think they may need a few more before the season ends.  Having said that, the season is only two games old - and the Lions won't be playing the likes of Retford and Arnold every game. So no need to panic yet - and any talk about being relegation fodder is far too premature.

Admission £5
Attendance 177