Long Eaton United FC

Long Eaton United FC

Updated 4th February: A round up of the latest Blues news from the past month...

Coventry United 3-1 Long Eaton United – Saturday 28 January
Midland Football League Premier Division
Football fixture lists can be strange at the best of times, throwing up odd fixtures at odd times and that certainly applied over the last two Saturdays in the Midland Football League Premier Division.  A week last Saturday, Gary Hamson’s Long Eaton United welcomed Coventry United to Grange Park and won 2-1 courtesy of a late Danny Brain strike but the reverse fixture came as soon as last Saturday, when the Blues travelled to the West Midlands.

This was a chance to register a quick double but although the borough side dominated game play over the opening half hour or so, things didn’t go to plan in that respect when the home side took the lead in the opening half hour through Courtney Cameron after 26 minutes.

From the left, escaping from a marker, Cameron turned, raced into the area and sent a low angled strike across Blues keeper James Mitchison, but with just a further three minutes on the clock, Long Eaton won a free kick which was taken by Aaron Cole, initially cleared before falling to Andy Todd whose powerful volley roared its way into the net to level at 1-1.  This seemed to set the Blues off on a good spell in which a couple of set pieces were won.

Both sides pushed to get a grip on the game in the second half, Gary Hamson bringing on Nangle for Graham on 67, however, there was a decisive blow dealt with only a matter of a few minutes to go when Kai Williams put Coventry ahead and when last week’s match winning goal scoring hero Danny Brain was booked for a challenge, the resulting free kick saw a shot blocked, but the ball fell to Williams to smash home.

Disappointing though the scoreline was, although the Blues won the recent home tie deservedly, Coventry deserved the three points for the reverse fixture with their end of match pressure and goal flurry, despite a strong performance from the Blues’ Rob McCormick, a performance also acknowledged by the home side on their Twitter feed.

There was another sour note to end the game as goal scorer Todd got himself booked for dissent in the final minute with little to play for, Todd arguably frustrated at the scoreline and a slightly dubious decision which saw Coventry edge the game and pull away.

Long Eaton United 2-1 Coventry United – Saturday 21 January
Midland Football League Premier Division
New Long Eaton United manager Gary Hamson is well and truly setting his proverbial stall out at Grange Park as a rejuvenated Blues side begin to mount a steady climb up the  Midland Football League Premier Division table, having stagnated in mid-table for a while, despite some promising looking results.

The so called stagnation was the case before Hamson’s arrival, but signs of changes for the better included the arrival of three midfielders and a goalkeeper in time for the visit of Coventry United at the weekend.

The game started at quite a pace, and with end to end game play, the threat from Coventry evident when Josh O’Grady put the ball in the Blues net after 11 minutes having collected a Ben Vallance pass, but the linesman spotted an offside infringement and waved his flat accordingly.  The West Midlanders’ Kai Williams then put on a spurt through the United half on 14 minutes but sent a shot high and wide and just a minute later, Long Eaton took a dangerous free kick from the edge of the area which beat the wall but edged just wide, Josh Raven and Paolo Piliero combining to put the ball wide moments later.

The game ebbed and flowed with the visitors having a strong spell mid-half, but Long Eaton were equally threatening, Hollis forcing a goal line parry on 37.   Coventry then hit the post on 39 before the keeper Cotterell smothered the bouncing ball, but two minutes later, the visitors were ahead.  Cotterell advanced, took out a player, the referee awarded a spot kick and Thornton sent the keeper the wrong way, lucky to still be on the pitch, but unable to make up for his error.

The second half saw Andy Todd level five after the hour and this seemed to give the Blues added impetus and drive.  Eleven from time came a delightful match winner from Danny Brain and although Coventry had the odd counter in time remaining, there was nothing sufficient to find the net and level the score.   The visitors were sent back to Coventry by a Blues side that reached eleventh in the table after a run of seven points collected from a possible nine.

Stourport Swifts 2-2 Long Eaton United – Saturday 14 January
Midland Football League Premier Division
With former Borrowash Victoria manager Gary Hamson taking charge of Long Eaton United for a second game, the Blues embarked on a 150 mile round trip to the West Midlands on Saturday for a game against Stourport Swifts in the Midland Football League Premier Division.

The Swifts are one of the oldest non-league clubs in the country, having been formed as far back as 1882 around the same time but pre-dating the likes of Notts County and Derby County.

Amid glorious weather conditions, blue clear skies and bright sunshine, this was a great day for a football match and so it came to pass.  However, it was the home side who strode away into the lead – the first goal coming after just 19 minutes – Lloyd’s thumping header nestling home for 1-0.    Just four minutes later, the Swifts stood up to their name by quickly making it 2-0, the ball adjudged to have gone in off a Blues player as an added blow to the recently conceded opener.

It was important that the Blues found a goal inside the opening 45 minutes and that is exactly what they did, just on the stroke of half time to set up an exciting second half.

Shortly after the break, Long Eaton United had wiped out the home advantage, with an equaliser that came in the 53rd minute and shortly after the hour, they had the ball in the net for a third time only for the linesman to flag for an offside.

The Blues keeper needed to demonstrate heroics ten minutes later, soaring dramatically through the air to deny Lloyd’s powerful strike but the rest of the game played out to a 2-2 finish – definitely one of the neutrals if not fans from both sides.

A good recovery from the Blues and they might well feel aggrieved that they couldn’t complete the ultimate comeback and score a goal that would be allowed to nick all three points.  The early signs under Hamson appear to be quite promising – so, it is onwards to the next fixture.

Quorn AFC 0-2 Long Eaton United – Saturday 7 January
Midland Football League Premier Division
Gary Hamson has had an almost life-long connection with Long Eaton United, certainly stretching back to his teens, so with that affinity, it was perhaps no surprise that the recently former Borrowash Victoria boss landed back in the borough to take over from Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson who only had a short time in charge at the Grange Park Club.

Sporting Khalsa were the scheduled opponents at the weekend but as Khalsa found themselves in FA Vase action, a competition which takes precedence over the league campaign, there was instead an alternative fixture scheduled in Leicestershire at Quorn AFC.

First half goals from Romello Nangle and Blair Anderson gave the new manager his first win in only his first game and this result lifted the Blues to thirteenth in the Midland Football League Premier Division table with 30 points from 23 games, 8 wins, 6 draws, 9 defeats, 41 scored, 45 against but there is ground to make up to the sides above.  Hamson may just be the man to do it after a period in which the club have struggled to make any headway despite some reasonable results.

Long Eaton United 2-2 Loughborough University Saturday 31 December
Midland Football League Premier Division
Long Eaton United were in New Years Eve daytime Midland Football League action as they welcomed Loughborough University to Grange Park.  The Blues took to the pitch in nothing like that colour, instead wearing fluorescent orange.

A bright look was followed by a bright start for the borough side. A well delivered corner after just four minutes reached the front post and was inches from the goal line before being cleared.  Four minutes later, Hollis was needed to prevent the visitors from getting their first shot on target.

Both teams probed without threatening the net, Hollis stealing from a Loughborough defender on 21 on the edge of the box but firing over after losing balance.

Loughborough took the lead on 26 - Andy Bridge watching as Andy Read got a deflected touch to put them ahead. Three minutes after the half hour came a gilt-edged chance to equalise.

Up stepped Piliero after a box infringement, striking the ball from the spot low and to the bottom left, only for the keeper to get a touch to send it wide.  The Blues did however draw level shortly before the break.  A ball wriggled its way into the Loughborough box where, at close range, Josh Raven found it at his feed to prod home.   Fired up from the equaliser, the Blues finished the half with a flurry of chances on the visiting goal.

In the second half, Hornby was one-on-one with Jason Davis but knocked the ball wide but United then applied the pressure with Towey’s towering header two short of the hour forcing the keeper into a great save, but at the other end, Hornby was performing equal heroics 18 from time to deny a strike from inside the area.

Although Loughborough threatened, so too did United and they took the lead with seven to go courtesy of great play from Kev Hemagou down the right, finding Romaine Graham who left the keeper with no chance.  Brain felt Cochrane’s challenge three minutes later, the victim taking comfort from the yellow card given to the offender.

Two from time, Loughborough equalised – a box scramble finally ended when Joe Jackson fired the ball into the back of the net to set the final score – 2-2.

St Andrews 5-1 Long Eaton United – Monday 2 January

Midland Football League Premier Division
New Year footballing action came far too soon for Long Eaton United – or so it seemed – as the Blues faced an early kick off in more ways than one with a 12:00noon start at St. Andrews on Bank Holiday Monday.

Having taken the lead at Loughborough in the dying moments of the previous game over the festive season, Long Eaton United had conceded late on for a 2-2 scoreline and this may well have been a hangover into the New Year which was still lingering at St. Andrews.

The borough side found themselves 3-0 down at the break after their hosts scores on 24, 30 and 45 and although the Blues did find the net in the second half, it proved to be no more than a consolation, less so after St. Andrews found another two mid-way through the second period.