The Lions Tamed

For my first game of 2022 I visited Heanor to see them play Selsdon in the United Counties League Premier Division North, part of the Non League restructure which meant the United Counties taking on a larger role extending further into the Midlands.

Heanor is in the centre of Derbyshire and is close to the Nottinghamshire border and grew up around the silk and lace industry which was synonimous in the area. They were at home to Selston another village but only 7 miles away in Nottinghamshire. A good local derby on this bank holiday which reflected in the good crowd of 237.

Heanor Town have been established since 1883 and in their early years reached the first round of the F.A. Cup four times losing to Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Bury. 60 years later they reached the same rounds again this time losing to the professionals of Carlisle and Bradford Park Avenue. They have won many local cups and changed Leagues through promotions and relegations but have also been caught up in the mergers and start ups of Leagues and reorganisation. Hopefully they can now put down roots in the United Counties.

Selston in contrast only started Saturday football in 1986 having been initially formed as a Sunday League team in 1968. They disbanded the senior team for three years in the early 21st century and now sit at their highest level of competition.

It was great to see bright blue skies after December was the greatest December since 1956 and with Covid felt very grey. There were some whisky clouds but these were scurrying across with the sky.

The ground is noticeable from a distance by the floodlights but also two mobile phone masts at diagonal ends. The turnstile was next to a large well appointed clubhouse with a large extra marquee extension to the rear with the New Years Eve Party still being advertised, although it was a sell out. Hopefully the team have recovered.

The pitch slopes end to end from the changing room end and from left to right. The grass looked to be under pressure with some muddy patches in the goal mouths. Next to the pitch is a large grass training area and pitches for youth football.

Heanor Town F.C. 0 Selston F.C. 0

The Lions v The Parishioners – Monday 3rd January 2022 – United Counties League Premier Division North.

Heanor kicked downhill in the first half and just edged the first 30 minutes getting behind the Selsdon defence on a few occasions. The play seemed to be stuck in the middle of the field in the heavy conditions and the referee blew for constant fouls often due to the poor ground.

Heanor did have players put through on 33 and 40 minutes but Tom Hilton missed to the left and Jamie Sleigh to the right.

Half time came and the crowd were grumbling that it can’t get any worse, they’ve had too much Christmas Pudding and they still have hangovers. The wind had increased and had a colder edge to it.

The second half found Selston gaining the upper hand and had what looked like a good call for a penalty turned down when Sean Gregory was upended on 36 minutes and 4 minutes later hit the bar.

Heanor did still pose a threat but Selstons George Wilkinson and Perry Marriot-Lane seemed to get any parts of their bodies in the way of any attack. My man of the match was Selstons number Ben Moore who was influential in the limb sapping midfield.

No goals but it was great to be out and see a very competitive match, hopefully the first of many this year. I intend to see more United Counties games as the year progresses.

The chips were just what were needed, they were very hot, golden, twice cooked and tasty. A good score of 78 but I would suggest a small portion is enough..

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