AFC FYLDE 3-0 MATLOCK TOWN – Evo Stik NPL
Two late goals gave the final scoreline a harsh look as Matlock battled hard against play off chasing Fylde who secured a fifth successive win.
Matlock travelled to Lancashire in a hastily rearranged game when it became clear there was no guarantee that their scheduled home match with Worksop would go ahead after the recent heavy snow. They made the journey without suspended skipper James Lukic and injured top scorer Lewis McMahon.
The Gladiators soon forced a corner, inside twenty seconds in fact, but this was cleared and within four minutes they found themselves behind when Adam Yates was adjudged to have fouled Sean Cooke in the box and JOE BOOTH rifled in the penalty.
It was just the start that Matlock didn’t want and they found themselves under some intense pressure as the Coasters looked to stretch their lead. Bradley Barnes fired well wide and Jon Kennedy caught an overhead attempt from Jack Dorney before Matlock’s first worthwhile attempt came from Lee Featherstone on 16 minutes whose shot skidded wide.
Adam Farrell should have hit the target midway through the half, instead he slid in to strike the crossbar from just four yards, but Matlock were coming more into the game as the half progressed.
Home custodian Ben Hinchliffe kept out a James Ashmore effort before Massiah McDonald took on seemingly the whole of the Fylde defence before pulling his shot wide.
In an even second half Matlock gave as good as they received but unfortunately lacked the killer instinct in front of goal.
Fylde had a chance to double their advantage in the 53rd minute when Mike Barnes elected to shoot instead of feeding the supporting Cooke who would have had a clear shooting chance. But Matlock did well to close Barnes down who fired wide under pressure.
As Matlock turned on the gas Micky Harcourt incredibly had three headers that were narrowly off target while Lavelle White could not convert a close range opportunity which would have given the Gladiators a 71st minute equaliser.
Fylde brought on the experienced James Dean and Harry Winter, who played one game for Matlock at Kendal last season as they sought to see the game out and the move brought its reward.
Dean won a free kick out on the lefty in the 84th minute and COOKE scored with a stunning direct shot into the top corner to finally give Fylde some breathing space.
Then two minutes into stoppage time WINTER shot home from the edge of the box to make it three and while on the balance of the play Fylde deserved the win,a three goal margin was flattering to say the least.
AFC FYLDE: 1 Ben Hinchliffe, 2 Steve Haslam, 3 Adam Sumner, 4 Matt Hughes,5 Michael Taylor,6 Bradley Barnes, 7 Jack Dorney (14 Harry Winter 69) 8 Joe Booth (12 James Dean 69) 9 Adam Farrell 10 Michael Barnes 11 Sean Cooke Other subs: 15 Jimmy McCarthy 16 Ashley Dunn 17 Paul Scott
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Lee Featherstone 4 Martin Foster 5 Adam Yates 6 Laurence Gaughan 7 Ben Algar (12 Joe Leesley 69) 8 James Ashmore 9 Massiah McDonald 10 Gareth Davies 11 Lavelle White Other subs: 14 Will Dennis 15 Geoffrey Gouveia 16 James Travis 17 Nick Buxton
REFEREE: T Bramall–Killamarsh ATTENDANCE: 211 STAR GLADIATOR: Laurence Gaughan