• Alfie Burley

Heanor take the spoils at home to Gresley in season opener


Heanor Town returned to step five with a win as they overcame Derbyshire rivals Gresley Rovers at the Town Ground on Wednesday night.

Goals from Lewis Weaver and Jamie Sleigh wrapped up the win for the home side, and while Rovers played well in patches, two lapses of concentration at the back cost them dearly, forcing them to settle for defeat in their first match back.

Rovers made a nervy start to the game as Heanor came close to taking the lead within the first minute but the away side were thankful to see Sleigh’s shot go well off target.

This early warning sign seemed to awaken Rovers and they managed to wrestle back some control in the game. They had a huge chance when Ryan Seal found Danny Munday at the back post, but the striker’s half-volley was wide of the mark.

Gresley were, however, still susceptible at the back, and Lewis Fenney was forced to preserve his side’s clean sheet on multiple occasions in the first period.

His fingertip save deflected Kyle Daley’s dipping effort just over the crossbar, whilst he also denied Louis Antony from close range following a free kick delivery into the box.

Jamie Sleigh scored after returning to Heanor Town.

Yet, Gresley were fashioning clear chances of their own, and probably should have taken the lead when Seal played Oli Bailey behind the Heanor defence, but Tom Smith was out of his goal well to deny the forward.

Just before the half-time whistle, Gresley would have one more chance, and after being frustrated for the majority of the first 45, Steve Hart nearly left his mark, only to see his shot deflected wide of the goal.

Following the break Gresley started brightly, Oli Bailey heading just over the crossbar via a free kick from Seal. Yet, in the 58th minute Heanor would hit the front.

After finding space inside the area, Weaver composed himself before slotting neatly in at Fenney’s near post, opening the scoring for Town.

The strike seemed to rattle Gresley and they never really recovered, and Heanor would double their lead in the 67th minute.

A corner from the right-hand side was won in the middle by the home side, and despite an outstanding save from Fenney, Sleigh followed up on the rebound to compound the Moatmen’s misery.

With Rovers now pushing for a goal back, Heanor looked dangerous on the counter and Sleigh came close to doubling his tally, but Harrison got down well to block his effort.

The Moatmen had their chances at the end of the game, but a block on the line denied substitute Lucas Powell, whilst Alex Morris fired over in the closing seconds.