Courey Grantham stars as Long Eaton continue their good form.
Long Eaton came out on top in a 3-2 victory against Thackley with Courey Grantham proving the difference between the sides.
Before the win at the weekend, the Blues were held to a 1-1 draw against Bridlington Town in the midweek clash.
In the midweek match, captain Shaun Rickford gave the home side the lead just on the stroke of half-time. Bridlington got the equaliser in the 62nd minute courtesy of a free-kick from the left that was headed home by Tom Lee.
Long Eaton kicked off March with a stern test against sixth-placed Thackley, who had disposed of Long Eaton in their first encounter of the year 5-2.
In basking sunshine, Long Eaton immediately looked a threat.
With their extra pace surprising their counterparts and their improved passing game, the home side used both skills to create the first goal on the 16th minute mark. Grantham used his pace to get behind the Thackley defence down the right then played through Gary Langford who found Rickford and he fired home just outside the six-yard box.
Eight minutes later the visitors equalised with fortuitous goal. A cross from the left was headed towards goal by James Firth only for it to ricochet off the back of Lewis Morgan.
Charlie Palmer’s side would have felt aggrieved to head down the tunnel in deadlock as they were the dominant force of the half, with Thackley attempting to impose themselves on the game through physical dominance.
In the second-half it was Long Eaton’s turn to have a slice of good luck. Ross Parker’s free-kick from 25 yards out took a wicked deflection, wrong-footing the keeper.
Grantham soon increased the lead with a brilliant individual effort. Released on the counter attack, Grantham left the defenders for dead with his express pace and illustrated his calmness in front of goal, smoothly finishing in the 75th minute.
Thackley’s Nicky Matthews scored with a curling strike but it was to only be a consolation.
The win puts Long Eaton in 11th level on points with eighth placed Bridlington Town. Next up for Palmer’s men is Athersley Recreation at home on Wednesday night (5th) then a trip to Albion Sports.
Report by Adam Slater