Long Eaton United FC

Long Eaton United FC

Updated 22nd April: A round up of the latest Blues news from the past month...

Long Eaton United 2-0 Coventry Sphinx – Monday 17 April
Midland Football League Premier Division
After late heroics on Saturday against Westfields FC, Long Eaton United welcomed Coventry Sphinx to Grange Park on Easter Bank Holiday Monday for the final home game of the season, the Blues needing a win to guarantee their survival in the Midland Football League Premier Division for another season.

Shaun Rickford, back at the club once more, is now established, as he has been before, in a player manager role – leading from the front and he would certainly play his part in this game and guiding his side to victory against a spirited Coventry Sphinx side.

Early doors though, it appeared as if the Blues had failed to heed the lessons of the eventual draw on Saturday, finding it necessary for a goal line clearance from a corner to avoid going behind early on, and with the visitors having the first shot of the game within the opening minute.

But Long Eaton United did get a grip in the game and led after just 14 minutes -  a long free kick saw Todd, Rickford and Piliero involved, the latter slotting the ball home.

Long Eaton United 3-3 Westfields FC – Saturday 15 April
Midland Football League Premier Division
We’ve not remarked on it because we didn’t think it was possible but the fact remained over the Easter weekend that Long Eaton United needed to find some end of season form to secure their Midland Football League Premier Division status for another season.

Westfields FC were the visitors to Grange Park on Easter Saturday for a game that would keep the neutrals entertained and shred the nerves of fans and officials for both sides involved.

Long Eaton United were the first to find the goal inside the opening fifteen minutes – a delightful pass from player manager, the returning Shaun Rickford put Andy Todd In to knock the ball around the visiting keeper.

A penalty put them 2-0 up inside the opening half hour, Andy Todd doubling the scoreline and confirming a brace for him on the day after a foul was committed in the area by the Westfields defence, Todd converting from the spot.

But the jangling of nerves began before the first half had ended with Westfields narrowing the deficit with a cool finish from Thomas.   The final half hour of action had begun when the visitors found an equaliser and the Blues were made to rue their errors when a 2-0 lead was confirmed as well and truly over-turned with around 20 minutes left to play.  

A gilt-edged opportunity to equalise came when another spot kick was awarded but the shot was saved and the Blues continued to trail with time running out.   But the late-late show was allowed to play out as Dakin’s excellent strike found a way through a wall of Westfields players who were trying to shut up shop, the wonder strike from Dakin making it 3-3 at the final whistle.

Walsall Wood 1-0 Long Eaton United – Saturday 8 April
Midland Football League Premier Division
It has to be said that, since the return of Shaun Rickford to Grange Park, there have been some mixed results for Long Eaton United.  But having said that, even under Gary Hamson’s tenure, the results were equally mixed at times.

The Blues have experienced an unsettled season with three changes of management from Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson to former Vics boss Hamson and now Rickford, although we’ve not fully established the reasons for the many managerial changes at the club in the south of the borough.

In any case, Rickford took his men to the West Midlands on Saturday for the latest Midland Football League Premier Division clash with Walsall Wood.

Neither side seemed eager to make an error during a tentative start, but Blues keeper Mitchison was at full stretch after just seven minutes from a shot through a crowded area.

Romaine Graham was in space with 12 gone, out to the right, a ball in was struck well wide by Matt Savage.  Twelve later, Graham was again involved in a move towards the Woodsmen’s goal, a strong shot deflected over the bar, and a minute later, Piliero strode forward, was pushed back and then dispossessed as Walsall countered.
Just one goal decided it the game in the direction of the hosts who tweeted in the aftermath that the three points had been huge in moving towards securing their league safety against what they said was a very organised Long Eaton United side.   The solitary goal came around the half hour mark – a move down the left culminated in a cross to Josh Mansell who finished well.

The rest of the game ebbed and flowed but with the home side shutting up shop to defend a slender but valuable lead, bringing on a sub with five of an anticipated three
minutes added, the game rounding out in the home side’s favour. Job done for them, a frustrating job not done for the Blues.

Coventry Sphinx 4-1 Long Eaton United – Saturday 1 April
Midland Football League Premier Division
The wind of change has blown through Grange Park once more with recently installed former Borrowash Victoria manager Gary Hamson making way for the familiar face of Shaun Rickford.

However, this change has led to arguably mixed results since the change for reasons not entirely publicly known.  Saturday saw the Blues travel to Coventry to take on another side with the nickname of the Blues, like their Football League counterparts but known as Coventry Sphinx.

Ryan Harkin, who would go on to become a thorn in the side of the borough club, put the home side ahead midway through the first half and after Jamie Towers made it 2-0 two minutes before the half hour, Harkin assured himself of a brace on the stroke of half time.

Although Long Eaton did find a consolation, that was all it was ever going to be as time ticked away but there was still time for Harkin to complete a hat-trick five minutes from time to complete a 4-1 victory – and on April 1st, this was no joke!

Alvechurch FC 1-2 Long Eaton United – Tuesday 28 March
Midland Football League Premier Division
The wind of change has blown through Grange Park again. Unbeknown to some if not many, former Borrowash Victoria manager Gary Hamson’s tenure at the home of Long Eaton United has proven to be a short once and Shaun Rickford is back as player manager to lead the Blues towards the end of the season.

However, before a ball had even been kicked on Tuesday night, the Blues knew they had a challenge to face as they took on Midland Football League Premier Division leaders Alvechurch FC.

It was a challenge that they faced head on and stunned their hosts by taking the lead midway through the first half.  Alvechurch moved to put Long Eaton into an offside position but the attempt failed and Romaine Graham calmly scored the opener.   The home side set about rectifying the situation and were back on level terms eight minutes before the break.  Edmunds found the head of Shilvock to level at 1-1 with 37 minutes gone.

The second half got underway with the Blues back in the lead quickly after the restart – Alvechurch relinquished possession in midfield and this allowed a break which put Matt Savage in to restore a one goal lead.

If the league leaders thought they could still get something from the game, they suffered a blow five minutes from time with a red card wielded for one of their own and this allowed Shaun Rickford’s men the cushion and control that they needed to complete a shock victory but through an assured performance.

Long Eaton United 3-2 Brocton FC – Saturday 25 March
Midland Football League Premier Division
As the sun shone on Saturday, Long Eaton United embarked on a battle to emerge the brightest in their latest Midland Football League Premier Division fixture as they welcomed Brocton FC to Grange Park.

Welcoming back the likes of Msrs Rickford and Barber, the Blues nevertheless fell behind after a very even opening fifteen minutes or so, albeit with the home side having a few more half chances than the visitors, perhaps to be expected with home advantage.

However, before the half hour, Brocton were in the lead through a scrambled goal at the back post from Hartshorne, and as the opening half hour rounded out, United looked a little stretched, Brocton pushing for a second, sending a dipping ball to the back post, played back across the danger area but fizzing onto the roof of the net.

Moments after the half hour mark though, the Blues drew level – a low shot to the bottom corner from the left from Andy Todd.  Seconds later, Piliero had a chance to take the home side ahead but a strong drive was pushed out for a corner.

But rather than take the lead with chances available, Long Eaton fell behind inside the opening 45 and as the half rounded out – Wellecomme beating Mitchison for a blow after such good momentum from Gary Hamson’s men.

Blaine Hancock was also back at Grange Park for this tie and duly made a mark o return by levelling the tie once more, the ball struck through a crowd of players as the final quarter hour began.

The frenetic nature of this game continued into the final five minutes, Dean Haynes nipping in behind the backline but shooting wide of an upright, but Brocton were on a final attack to nick a win – several shots deflected or blocked by the Blues defence.

Instead, Long Eaton took an opportunity to stun their visitors rather than the other way around, a long ball down the centre saw Romaine Graham on the volley and with little time left for anything further of significance, the Blues had become comeback kings, 1-0 and 2-1 down – winning 3-2.