Ricketts strikes to send United out of the FA Cup

Heanor striker Gary Ricketts gets up to win a header against Long Eaton United. Photo by Eric Gregory.

Heanor striker Gary Ricketts gets up to win a header against Long Eaton United. Photo by Eric Gregory.

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Heanor Town 1

Long Eaton Utd 0

by Jon Faulkner

Long Eaton’s flirt with the FA Cup came to an end at the first hurdle at the Town Ground on Friday night as former Ilkeston FC favourite Gary Ricketts struck the winner to win this extra preliminary round tie.

The two sides had battled it out in two epic NCEL Premier Division encounters last season, and despite United now being in the Midlands Football League, the FA Cup draw this time threw them together.

Heanor’s front two, Ricketts and Ilkeston loanee Courey Grantham, offered pace and strength and it would prove the defining factor in this tie.

United started well and went close in the first minute, Ben Watkiss heading Blair Anderson’s just wide.

However, from that point Heanor were on the front foot, the pace of the midfield and attack causing United many problems.

Heanor were next to have a shot on goal, Ricketts powering into the area before hitting a low drive that missed the target.

Heanor wouldn’t have to wait too long to open the scoring though.

In the sixth minute, Ricketts floated in at the front post after a outswinging cross was fired in and under pressure he used his strength to rise above the United defence and head into the top left corner of the net.

Heanor dominated the rest of the half but couldn’t break down a resolute defence, United themselves unable to create many openings.

The second-half belonged to United with their passing, control and running off the ball far better.

Heanor, however, looked good on the break and on several occasions it was Grantham leading the attack with United chasing back, but the Blues battled back well and Grantham on the whole was relatively quiet.

Despite having lots of possession, United were still unable to create many real chances to level the game, with Heanor eventually able to slow the game down as they hung on to leave most of the 368 in attendance much happier as they made their way home.

Long Eaton’s scheduled match with Dunkirk on Tuesday night was postponed due to Dunkirk requiring an FA Cup replay.