MATLOCK TOWN 4-1 GRANTHAM TOWN
Matllock’s impressive home record was maintained as they earned a fifth successive win at the Autoworld Arena in a thrilling game with Grantham on Tuesday night.
The scoreline was not quite as comfortable as the victory margin suggests though. If the Gingerbreads can gain any consolation from their defeat it was that they caused the home defence more problems than most other visiting sides this season, even more than high flying Skelmersdale three days earlier, who had been facing just ten Gladiators.
Grantham were dangerous at the start of both halves and Matlock could conceivably have found themselves two goals adrift before Danny Holland’s first half brace and Shaun Tuton’s identical scoring contribution after the interval secured the three points.
Both sides won early corners which came to nothing before midfielder Jack McGovern forced a decent diving save from Jon Kennedy to push away his low drive. Matlock replied instantly with Tuton extending Grantham’s Dan Haystead before from the resulting corner, David Haggerty headed directly at Haystead.
Then Matlock’s goal had a charmed life as Kennedy pulled off a terrific stop from Paul Grimes and then with the help of his team mates, knocked an effort from former Buxton schemer Michael Towey off the line.
That quick double escape was the impetus Matlock needed to exert some authority on proceedings and after Joe Leesley’s storming run down the left climaxed with a low cross just out of Holland’s radar, HOLLAND struck from the penalty spot on 31 minutes. Deon Meikle stuck out a leg to upend the Matlock number nine as he received Micky Harcourt’s low cross from the right and he comfortably dispatched his shot to Haystead’s left.
Matlock maintained the pressure and HOLLAND, with a bullet header from James Ashmore’s 39th minute corner, doubled the Gladiators’ advantage. He cheekily aimed for his hat-trick minutes later with a quick thinking first time effort that Haystead comfortably fielded after Grantham were caught out by Haggerty’s huge clearance.
Grantham looked for an early second half reply but Matlock stood firm and then extended their advantage when TUTON forced his way beyond the Gingerbreads’ fragile looking rearguard from Adam Yates’ forward header, to draw Haystead and fire clinically into the corner.
Corey Gregory looked like he had a point to prove when replacing Lavell White and almost instantly he caused Grantham headaches with a probing run from the right before Haystead grabbed his firmly struck low effort.
A moment of indiscretion from Oscar Radford, who appeared to virtually catch the ball in his own penalty box, saw him booked and concede a penalty which was converted by PAUL GRIMES with twenty minutes to go.
But any faint hopes the Lincolnshire lads might have harbored of a dramatic fightback were extinguished within just three minutes.
Substitute Daryll Thomas broke down the left and his low cross was softly pushed into TUTON’s path by Haystead who gleefully accepted the easiest of chances.
Only a timely clearance by skipper Paul Lister stopped Thomas from feeding Tuton once again and after Tuton went off with two minutes left, his young replacement Alex Bradshaw nearly had a debut to remember.
With just his second touch he found room on the right but pulled his low shot agonizingly wide of the far post.
It had been a great and memorable few days for Matlock.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 James Ashmore 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford 7 Liam Needham 8 Adam Yates 9 Danny Holland ( 12 Daryll Thomas 72) 10 Shaun Tuton ( 16 Alex Bradshaw 88) 11 Lavell White (14 Corey Gregory 65) Subs not used: 15 Martin Foster 17 Matty Leese
GRANTHAM TOWN: 1 Dan Haystead 2 Sam Puricoe 3 Lee Ridley 4 Deon Meikle 5 Paul Lister 6 Rhys Lewis 7 Jack McGovern 8 Michael Towey (14 Keiran Walker 72) 9 Paul Grimes 10 Greg Smith (16 Gary King 72) 11 Lee Potts Other subs: 12 Josh Lacey 17 Adrian Hawes
REFEREE: T Bramall (Killamarsh) ATTENDANCE: 292 BEST GLADIATOR: Shaun Tuton