Last gaps goal helps Staveley MW close gap at top of NCEL Premier Division


A last minute winner helped title-chasing Staveley keep up the pressure on leaders Tadcaster after a 3-2 win against Heanor.

The last-gasp win leaves Staveley in second and nine points behind Albion with three games in hand.

It had looked like they would be forced to settle for a share of the points until Jahmal Smith capitalised on hesitation in the Heanor defence to steal position and fire past the goalkeeper.

While Jas Colliver’s side recorded their eleventh consecutive NCEL win, rivals Worksop Town lost away at mid table Garforth Town and league leaders Tadcaster Albion were held to a draw at home against Bridlington Town.

Heanor had, perhaps, the better of the first half and took the lead afer 17 minutes.

Gary Ricketts battled his way down the right wing before squaring the ball for Matt Richards, who smashed the ball past Hernandez from 12 yards out to give the visitors the lead.

At the other end, Staveley almost replied immediately, but Smith couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch after Poulton and Hodder had combined to set up a half chance in a crowded Heanor goalmouth.

On 21 minutes, the breakthrough Staveley had been striving for duly arrived when Smith latched on to a long pass from Sam Finlaw, beat the last defender for pace and drilled the ball just inside the left hand upright.

The goal fired Heanor up and they finished the half strongly, with Ricketts, Richards and the prolific Keiran Debrouwer keeping Hernandez and his back four busy.

It wasn’t long before they were back in front, when Coury Grantham ran onto a delicately weighted lob over the Welfare defence and left Hernandez clutching fresh air as he bulged the back of the net.

After the break, Staveley began to contain Heanor far better than they had done towards the end of the first half and really took the game to the visitors on a pitch that had stood up well to the job thus far.

Around the hour mark, Ian Deakin momentarily seemed to forget that he no longer plays for Staveley, when his poor clearance went straight to Morley, who knocked the ball into the path of Wall, but the Welfare substitute blazed his shot narrowly over the bar.

With 12 minutes remaining, hard working Staveley pulled level when Ross Goodwin’s long pass down the right found Morley, who beat off two challenges and crossed for Wall who gleefully whacked the ball home.

Wall deserved a goal for his efforts and Staveley certainly hadn’t still deserved to be behind given their second half dominance.

Chris Shaw broke away from midfield and played the ball forward, while Fisher had to haul Ricketts down on the edge of the box to prevent a goal-scoring opportunity. Hernandez held on to the resultant free kick from Debrouwer.

It looked as though the game was heading for a draw, when a late flag pulled Morley up after he’s run through the Heanor backline in pursuit of a Finlaw through ball and Smith, uncharacteristically, missed a sitter from Poulton’s cross.

In the final minute, Jack Watts knocked a great pass through the Heanor defence to Morley, who beat Deakin all ends up with a thumping shot that crashed back in to play off the upright.

Having weathered a storm towards the end, the Heanor defence then contributed to their own downfall right at the death.

As they hesitated, when a good whack up the field would’ve sufficed, they showed enough of the ball to Smith to give him the opportunity to pounce, nick possession, charge towards the advancing Deakin and cooly fire home.

The celebrating Staveley players piled on Smith while Heanor heads visibly dropped.

After the game, Heanor’s manager Glen Clarence was obviously gutted after the end of the game, but he was generous enough to praise Staveley’s fitness level and the performance of Jahmal Smith in particular.