The stand out game of the day to me was at Long Eaton just West of Nottingham. Long Eaton United were at home to Hebburn Town in a promotion chasing game.
Long Eaton vie with Grantham as to who is the most southerly in the Northern Premier League East and play at Grange Park with a 3G pitch and other grass pitches on the site. As I pulled up players were leaving the NJD Community Arena after playing junior games on the 3G pitch, vacating the large car park for the Senior game to follow.
The car was showing a heady 13.5 degrees even though there were light grey clouds covering the sky. The ground was very tidy with a big seated stand on one side, a terraced covered area on the opposite side and good hard standing around the rest of the pitch. The refreshment kiosk greets you as you go through the turnstiles alongside the club house. I was disappointed to find that with such an interesting game and good facilities there were only 248 there.
I sat high up at the back of the stand and behind the goal to my left I could see the cloud machine you pass on the M1, the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station. The grass pitch looked very flat but was beginning to see the scars of a long season.
Hebburn Town were started in 1912 as the ‘Reyrolles’ works team plying local football in Jarrow. Having moved within leagues they eventually changed name to Hebburn Reyrolles in 1986 and two years later to Hebburn when they joined the Northern League. They yoyoed up and down leagues for some years having added the “Town’ name in 2000. They continued steady progress and highlighted with an FA Vase win at Wembley in 2020 against local rivals Consett. They were promoted to the Northern Premier League East, their current location, after the recent league reorganisation in 2021.
A team called Long Eaton St Helens played in the Derbyshire Alliance in 1907 and played in local leagues for around 20 years before disbanding. Long Eaton Town were established in July 1949 and spent many years in the Central Alliance, before moving to the Midland League in 1961.
In 1982 they were founder members of the Northern Counties East League, with the merger of two leagues. They stayed there for 7 years before opting to move to the Central Midlands League but by 2002 they were back in the Northern Counties East League. They moved up to the Premier Division before changing leagues again in 2014 to the newly formed Midland League. Their nomadic days continued when reorganisations moved them to the Premier Division North of the United Counties League in 2021 which they won and were promoted to The Northern Premier League East where they sit today. They now hope to move up again via the play offs
Long Eaton United 3 HebburnTown 2
Saturday 18th March 2023. 15.00 pm Northern Premier League East. 4th v 2nd
Grange Park, Long Eaton, The blues v The railwaymen
Long Eaton, Royal Blue and black vertical stripes on the front of shirt, all blue on the back with black shorts: Hebburn Light blue shirts with white shorts.
Hebburn were a disappointment, sitting second in the league they had no answer for Long Eaton’s quick inter passing forwards with Fearon continually causing trouble on the right and setting up chances with good crosses.
It was no surprise that a cross led to long Eaton’s first goal. It was nodded down by walker to Cursons who appeared to miss kick the ball but it came back to him to just tap in with no one challenging.
Long Eaton continued to make chances and converted one just on half time when a flick header put Jamie Walker through who drew the keeper and slid the ball along the ground into the net for a two nil lead for the home side.
Hebburn had made one positional change by switching a different defender to marshal Fearon and when Long Eaton’s centre back went off with a shoulder injury and the away side subbed on two forwards the game changed. Hebburn took control and hit the bar, sent free kicks just over and scored on 70 minutes when Daniel Moore rose above everyone else to head the ball down into the goal. The ball was cleared off the line but the linesman who was in the correct position gave a goal as it had crossed the line.
Hebburn kept pressing and were awarded a penalty on 83 minutes when a player was tripped in the box. Olly Martin sent the keeper the wrong way as he hit the ball just inside the left post.
With the clock ticking over into added time Hebburn conceded a freekick to the right of the goal and Jamie Walker left footed stroked the ball past the Hebburn wall just inside the post for the winner. Hebburn after completely turning it around in the second half had themselves to blame for defending the free kick sloppily and coming up against a superb strike from the Long Eaton. If these two sides meet in the play offs it will be anyone’s game.
Great refreshments bar with a good variety on offer served in a helpful manner. The chips were red hot, crispy, golden, great taste and not greasy. If anything slightly overcooked but still a very good score of 69.