Friday, 1 January 2016

Heanor Town 2 v Shepshed Dynamo 3 - MFL Prem

Friday 1st January 2016
at the Town Ground, Mayfield Avenue, Heanor
Midland Football League, Premier Division
Heanor Town (0) 2
Jay Cooper 51
Jamie Clarke 73 pen
Shepshed Dynamo (1) 3
Lee Miveld, Niall Prenderville or Jordan Simpson OG 24
Liam Read 63
Matt Langham 67
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 403
Third placed Heanor hosted fifth placed Shepshed this afternoon and were rewarded with a bumper crowd for using their initiative in staging a game on a bank holiday afternoon.
Among the 403 crowd who turned out for this fixture were a good number who had travelled from far and wide, the elder statesmen of the groundhopping fraternity were out in force and the queue for the tea hut never seemed to be less than twenty deep all afternoon as the ladies at the serving hatch did a brisk trade.
Heanor now have a proper club shop on site too, set up by the entrepreneurial Tony Squires, which has a good range of the sort of stuff non league travellers will call back to peruse on a regular basis and more stock is on the way any time soon.
As we pulled in to Mayfield Avenue, it was apparent that today's attendance was going to be a good one, because all of the premium parking spots right next to the ground were taken, but a brisk walk in the fresh air was probably just what I needed given the amount of of cereals, fruit, salad and low fat white meat cold cuts and really healthy mineral water I have consumed over the festive season.
The first half was open and entertaining enough, but the game really exploded into life during the second half, with the referee Justice Jacobs probably getting scribbled off of everyone in Heanor's Christmas card lists for this year, given the contentious nature of one or two of his decisions.
He was certainly the centre of the attention a lot of the time, but far be it from me to actually question the validity of any of his actions.
I wouldn't ever want to be a referee, that's for sure.
There seems to be some contention over who actually scored the opening goal on twenty four minutes, Lee Miveld struck the ball towards the goal, but in the scramble that ensued Niall Prenderville was awarded with the goal at the time (and subsequently is credited with it on the MFL FA Full Time website), while the Heanor defender Jordan Simpson got a foot to the ball as he tried to clear it off the line but it went in off the upright. 
Debate that one among yourselves ;-)
Michael Reeve was adjudged to be offside when he found the net with a header from Liam Read's right wing cross a few minutes later.
Jamie Clarke smashed a shot against the post with the visitors keeper Jack Hartopp beaten all ends up and Heanor came close to pulling level shortly before the break when Chris Bettney's dipping free kick fell just wide of the left hand post.
HT: Heanor Town 0 v Shepshed Dynamo 1
The second half was a little over five minutes old when Jay Cooper surged through the middle of the visitors defence with a surge of pace, Hartopp advanced from his line but hesitated for a moment, which gave Cooper the opportunity to accelerate past him and roll the ball into the open goal and the home side were level.
Heanor raised their game and were lifted by the goal, but Shepshed bought them back down to earth with a bump, by netting two goals in the space of four minutes, with Read finding the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar from Reeves measured left wing cross, before Langham grabbed a third for the visitors with a well struck shot from on the edge of the area, having made himself a couple of yards of space with some neat ball control.
Having suffered a double blow, Heanor brushed themselves down and pushed forward, looking to salvage something from the game, Kieran Debrouwer thumped a free kick towards the crowded visitors penalty area, but a defender in the wall blocked the effort with his hand.
Mr Justice blew up for a penalty and despite the best efforts of Hartopp, Clarke pulled a goal back for the home side.
Then chaos erupted.
Clarke raced forward to retrieve the ball from the back of the net, in a bid to get play restarted quickly. At the precise moment he arrived at the goal, Hartopp began to pick himself up off the floor and onto his knees... and in a bid to avoid a collision the Heanor striker leapfrogged over him (there is a video of the incident on the Wycombe Wanderer blog, judge it for yourself) and Hartopp hit the deck, having taken a knock. 
After five minutes of pushing, shoving and finger pointing, Clarke was red carded for this incident.
In his haste to reach the ball, he may have inadvertently, but not deliberately, caught the keeper with his trailing foot, but I can only think that the referee, in applying the letter of the law, must have deemed that the action was classed as dangerous play rather than any kind of intent. 
I had a fairly good view of it all from a few yards beside the goal, (see the photo above) and have watched Russel Cox's video several times; but what does everyone else think?
Following Clarke's dismissal, Heanor now had a mountain to climb if they were going to get anything out of the game.
Shortly afterwards, in a separate incident, the referee pulled up Hartopp for time wasting in his six yard box and then awarded a drop ball several yards outside the goal area.
Ash Lynch almost joined Clarke for an early shower, but received a yellow card for a heavy challenge, with the referee probably taking into account that the worsening underfoot conditions, as the rain hammered down for the final twenty minutes or so, had contributed to the impact Lynch made.
The final whistle sounded after four minutes of added time, which didn't go down too well with the home supporters, given the amount of actual stoppages there had been and a feisty, lively and at times controversial game came to an end.
Heanor had looked after their influx of first time visitors and occasional tourists well, they remember that kind of stuff when they are looking for games of interest in the future... and a lot of favourable comments were made to that end.
FT: Heanor Town 2 v Shepshed Dynamo 3
Happy New Year!
Great programme as always at Heanor