KING’s LYNN TOWN 1-3 MATLOCK TOWN
Danny Holland reached a milestone for Matlock who after falling behind early on, recovered to return to winning ways at The Walks against King’s Lynn’s ten men.
Holland registered his 100th and 101st goals in Gladiators colours in a purple second half patch when Matlock netted three goals in nine minutes.
The dismissal of striker Michael Frew for a rash challenge on Liam Needham three minutes before half time certainly did not help a Lynn side on a barren run, having now collected just one point out of the last twenty one on offer. Matlock leapfrogged them, jumping to 14th spot and the Norfolk side have been dragged into the relegation battle.
Home central defender Henry Eze experienced a strange start.
Inside the opening minute he was fortunate not to concede an own goal as he stuck out a leg to Naill McManus’ left wing cross, the ball bouncing within a whisker of the far post. From the corner, Muhammed Sabo glanced wide when well placed.
But on 3 minutes EZE was all smiles as he gave the Linnets the lead, meeting a free kick on the left from Jordan Yong to power a header over Jon Kennedy and into the net.
Looking for a swift reply Matlock might have made more of some promising situations.
Jamie McDonagh rushed his shot from the edge of the box before Liam Needham scuffed an effort from a similar distance which left Alex Street with a comfortable stop.
Matlock continued to fashion chances with McManus and Julian Banton being the recipients, they needed a little more steadiness in front of goal.
After booking McDonagh and Eze in separate incidents, Cambridge referee George Sprague then instantly flashed the red card at Frew who showed his studs in challenging Needham, at the same time infuriating the home crowd.
So Matlock had been presented with a golden chance to earn some reward and manager Mark Hume brought on Otis Khan who had swapped places in the match day squad with Holland, for the second half.
It proved to be a good move. Josh Meade was sacrificed and Khan was a threat straightaway with weaving runs from both flanks which increased the worry in the Lynn defence by the minute.
But the final piece of the jigsaw was missing and Hume boldly sent on Danny Frost to replace Oscar Radford.
Matlock needed to be patient. The direct approach had not worked successfully, a little invention was required.
That initially came from McManus whose thoughtful threaded low pass through the heart of the Linnets rearguard was a touch too strong for Holland. Frost then tried to create his own chance with a flick over a defender before being foiled when Ross Watson hacked clear.
But despite the Lynn crowd becoming increasingly angry with Mr Sprague, few could have denied that Matlock, on the balance of the play, did not deserve an equalizer.
It came when McDONAGH curled a low twenty yarder goalwards on 74 minutes which Street, possibly being unsighted, got a hand to but could only fingertip into the corner of the net.
It was the break Matlock wanted and five minutes later they had turned the tables completely. McDonagh was this time the provider, bursting into the box to slip an intelligent pass to HOLLAND who took the ball in his stride to score with a low diagonal shot into the opposite corner. Holland celebrated wildly with the Matlock fans, he had reached the treasured century of goals.
Lynn now looked a spent force and when Watson brought down Frost, goal number 101 for HOLLAND quickly followed, the penalty being stroked home in style.
Kennedy tipped a late header from Watson over the bar from a corner on the left, but the points were now secure and on their way back up the A17. The disappointment of the narrow defeat at Rushall three days earlier was now firmly behind the Gladiators.
Mr Sprague was booed off, his booking count being added to by Watson, Dan Quigley and Sam Mulready for the hosts and Matlock’s Frost.
Man of the match Holland, who played the role of target man to a tee, and his side reflected on a job well done.
KING’s LYNN TOWN: 1 Alex Street 2 Jackson Ramm (14 Stephen Spriggs 81) 3 Jordan Yong 4 Ross Watson 5 Henry Eze 6 Dan Quigley 7 David Bell 8 David Bridges 9 Michael Frew 10 Sam Mulready 11 Jacek Zielonka Other subs: 12 Shaun Stocker 15 Christopher Ward 17 Luke Pearson
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Oscar Radford (17 Danny Frost 62) 4 Josh Meade (15 Otis Khan 46) 5 Muhammed Sabo 6 Julian Banton 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Needham 9 Jamie McDonagh 10 Danny Holland 11 Niall McManus Other subs: 12 Scott Maxfield 14 Grant Black 16 Adam Yates
REFEREE: G Sprague (Cambridge) ATTENDANCE: 301 BEST GLADIATOR: Danny Holland