Long Eaton Utd 1
Armthorpe Welfare 0
United stretched their winning run to four games as Adam Burton’s strike from outside the box helped dispose of Armthorpe on Saturday.
The Blues had seen their NCEL League cup tie with Brighouse Town postponed in the midweek prior to Saturday’s game so had firm attentions on the clash against 17th placed Welfare.
Long Eaton started the game in 13th and wanting a win at home to give them a great chance of a top half finish at the end of the season.
The home side started the brightest with a controlled manner as they looked to find a way through their counterparts’ defence.
The deadlock should have been broken 35 minutes in by newcomer Scott James. Courey Grantham produced a brilliant run, skipping past two midfielders and playing a through ball to match letting in James only for him to squander the one-on-one chance.
Welfare struggled to break down the Long Eaton wall. The Blues back four is the fourth best in the league, with Ross Parker and Burton central to their success.
The second-half continued mostly in the same vein as the first.
Long Eaton continued to produce attractive football in the driving rain and in the 52nd minute the home side got the winner.
Blaine Hancock ran at the Welfare defence and had worked a way on goal only to be brought down. The referee played advantage and the ball fell to Burton who struck a thunderbolt that took a slight deflection on its way in.
Long Eaton almost secured the three points with Hancock’s long range effort nearly finding the back of the net.
The last few moments of the half were nervy ones as Armthorpe felt they could snatch a point and almost did with Luke Shaw having to clear off his line.
The defence held out for another clean sheet, taking their tally to 11, the third best in the league.
Manager Charlie Palmer said: “I would have liked us to have secured the three points with another goal but the defence were excellent. I’m keen for our fine form to continue.”
Long Eaton hosted Albion Sports on Wednesday (19th) and then take on local rivals Heanor Town away on Saturday in a season-defining game.
By Adam Slater