GRESLEY FC 0- 7 MATLOCK TOWN
As far as cup final annihilations go, this was probably the ultimate as Matlock ran riot with Jamie McDonagh inflicting carnage on a hapless Gresley.
McDonagh struck a hat-trick to fittingly walk away with the man of the match award of there match ball, the Gladiators other goals coming from substitute Otis Khan, Adam Yates, Niall McManus and a Matthew Roome own goal.
It was the highest winning margin since the final reverted to a one off tussle in 2009, and in truth, Matlock might easily have scored more.
Add in that Town goalkeeper Jon Kennedy did not have a save to make all night, it paints a picture of Matlock’s superb display and an abject one from Gresley.
The South Derbyshire side left strikers Kieran O’Connell and Alex Steadman plus defender Mitch Hanson out of their side and had to sign goalkeeper Jake Want on an emergency basis from Dunkirk following an injury to regular custodian Liam Roberts at Stafford on Saturday.
But the match statistics told their own story with the Gladiators scoring seven, having eleven on target attempts to Gresley’s none, seven more off target to just a solitary one from the Moatmen and dominating possession by a 75% / 25% difference.
Probably the Moatmen had half an eye on their upcoming play off semi finals at Leek, but credit to Matlock, they were ruthless and bordering on cruel.
McDONAGH had gone close inside two minutes with a low shot from a McManus assist which Want did well to push aside but there was no stopping the Northern Ireland under 21 international on 10 minutes when again McManus was the creator and this time a crisp eighteen yard half volley left Want helpless.
Russell Peel miskicked badly and a brilliant tackle by Yates on Peel stopped Gresley from hashing a chance to manufacture a reply and their hopes looked completely dashed as soon as the 20th minute when ROOME headed a Ted Cribley free kick into his own net.
Yates noddeda 30th minute corner wide and McManus ran out of space as he cut through a brittle Gresley defence soon afterwards. Then McDonagh drove over the bar again following fine work from McManus on the left and as half time approached Gresley were hanging on by their fingernails as McDonagh sliced a Danny Holland pass wide before seeing his chip nodded off the line by Roome following a2 simple but effective Micky Harcourt pass.
Matlock boss Mark Hume then went for the jugular, bringing on Pakistani international Otis Khan and the move worked a treat.
McDonagh flicked a good chance wide with the new half only seconds old but a third goal was not far away.
It duly arrived on 48 minutes as Khan and MCDONAGH weaved their magic from a corner on the left with intricate short passes, the move coming to a superb climax thanks to a fantastic chip from McDonagh.
Want saved superbly from McDonagh again and then Khan as Matlock waltzed through the Moatmen’s defence at will, a further fine Want save denying Holland.
But it was four on 57 minutes, Matlock again being alert from a left wing corner and McDONAGH’s well deserved hat-trick being completed with a firm low shot which hit a Gresley defender on its way into the net.
Khan’s curling effort was a whisker wide of the far post but then it was McDonagh the creator as his piercing run from deep saw him slip a neat pass to McMANUS to sidestep Want and net Matlock’s fifth with still a quarter of the final left.
“When the ball hits the goal it’s not Shearer or Cole it’s McDonagh” chanted the delirious Matlock support who were now in full voice.
Every time they attacked they looked like scoring and Want again rescued Gresley with a fine diving save from a Holland header.
But Want was found wanting on 77 minutes as he could only parry a low strike from Khan and YATES was on hand to stroke home from close range.
Liam Needham , Khan , Holland and McManus all could easily have netted before in stoppage time it was Matlock in seventh heaven as KHAN completed the rout with a low shot after more excellent work by McManus.
Then the sight of Holland lifting the trophy in front of the Matlock fans, who outnumbered their opponents by six to one, made their painful labours of December and early January seem an age away.
Hume has the X factor at present as far as Matlock fans are concerned, their performance cannot be praised highly enough. On this performance nobody could have lived with them.
GRESLEY: 1 Jake Want 2 Martin Smyth 3 Lucas Harrison 4 Matthew Roome 5 Jamie Barrett 6 Eric Graves 7 Sam Grice 8 Rob Mulonga (17 Callum Riddell 33) 9 Luke Edwards (15 Alex Steadman 46) 10 Russell Peel (12 Kieran O’Connell 58) 11 Ryan King Other subs: 14 Jack Langston 16 Aaron Hendrick
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Oscar Radford 4 Josh Meade (15 Otis Khan 46) 5 Adam Yates 6 Julian Banton 7 Ted Cribley (16 Muhammed Sabo 83) 8 Liam Needham 9 Jamie McDonagh 10 Danny Holland 11 Niall McManus Otheer subs: 12 Scott Maxfield 14 Grant Black 17 Ryan Pugh
REFEREE: Nick Hopton (Derby) ATTENDANCE: 751 BEST GLADIATOR: Jamie McDonagh