Matlock Town 2-1 Mansfield Town – FA Trophy First Round Replay
Tuesday night’s FA Trophy replay had the Reynolds Stadium rocking as Massiah McDonald struck a stoppage time winner to give Matlock a well deserved win over their Blue Square Conference Premier neighbours.
Matlock like playing Mansfield in cup competitions.Remember 1976 anyone? While this one was not as clear cut as their FA Cup triumph at Field Mill, in the scheme of things it was up there on merit.
The Gladiators found it difficult to match the Stags direct style in the opening half hour and this was probably where they were going wrong. But once the more free flowing football from their draw at the one call Stadium on Saturday returned in the final ten minutes of the opening period and in the entire second half, another shock always looked on, particularly after the visitors had midfielder Gareth Roberts sent for an early bath thirteen minutes from time.
Mansfield made a number of changes to freshen up their line up, but still fielded a side worthy of Conference Premier standard. They took the game to the hosts who fielded the eleven who finished Saturday’s 1-1 draw. Matlock had to defend a succession of high balls into their box, being forced to concede a number of corners. But goalkeeper Jon Kennedy’s handling was immaculate in spite of a painful bang in the kidneys early on. Andy Todd fired wide in the 13th minute after cutting in from the right before the visitors drew first blood seven minutes afterwards. Phil Roe caught Roberts with a mistimed challenge and from the free kick COLIN DANIEL rifled an unstoppable low 22 yard effort into the corner of the net to Kennedy’s right.
Lewis McMahon curled a shot a yard wide within two minutes as Matlock sought a response but the 29th minute would prove to be crucial to both sides’ asprirations. For once Paul Cox’s side played some neat football opening Matlock up but a breathtaking fingertip save from Kennedy to push Jake Speight’s shot overthe bar kept the Gladiators in contention.
McMahon looked to be pushed in the box but Bolton referee Darren Handley aggressively waved away penalty appeals before a good equalising chance went begging on 38 minutes. Smartbuild up play initially from McMahon and then Cotton ended with McDonald firing too high. Then on the stroke of half time, McMahon sliced wide from a few yards out, just after Roberts received his opening yellow card for bringing down Cotton.
Matlock were on fire after their half time refreshment and were level inside five minutes. As was the case when McMAHON scored on Saturday, McDonald was the provider , holding off John Thompson with his strike partner pushing home his pass from three yards.
From the Stags viewpoint it was a sloppy goal to concede and one from which they never recovered.
Matlock swarmed forward with the crowd behind them and might have had a penalty when Roe was pulled back by Luke Jones, but a free kick right on the edge of the box was awarded. Although this free kick came to nothing, James Ashmore was a great deal closer with another on 58 minutes, his low shot scraping past the outside of a post.
Full time Mansfield were being outfought and outplayed by the part-timers who might have gone in front when McDonald broke clear, but a moment’s hesitation saw the chance disappear as Jones madean important block.
Roberts tripped McDonald and was off to add to the Stags’ woes before they two huge let-offs ahead of mcDonald having the final say.
Adam Yates thumped a header against the bar from Micky Harcourt’s 84th minute free kick and four minutes later Bradley Grayson left Ritchie Sutton labouring, the fierce drive crashing off a post with Shane Redmond helpless.
But it just had to be, most emphatically, Matlock’s Messiah, the new Gladiators hero, who would make the ground erupt. Chasing a ball down the centre he left Exodus Geohagan for dead before burying his shot past Redmond a minute into stoppage time.
A snap shot from Matt Rhead nicked the outside of a post to force a corner which was headed out and Matlock were home and dry. It had been another wonderful Matlock effort. Mark Atkins and Nick Buxton joined the players for a celebratory group hug on the pitch before the Matlock heroes were cheered off by their ecstatic fans.
Mansfield could have no complaints, quite simply the better side in both games had won.
MATLOCK TOWn: 1. Jon Kennedy 2. Micky Harcourt 3 Phil Roe 4 Glyn Cotton ( 14 Joe Leesley 87) 5 Adam Yates 6 James Lukic 7 Bradley Grayson 12 (Martin Foster 90+2), 8 James Ashmore 9 Massiah McDonald 10 Lewis McMahon 11 Gareth Davies Other subs: 15 Will Dennis 16 Ryan Laight 17 Nick Buxton
REFEREE: D Handley–Bolton ATTENDANCE: 758 STAR MAN: Adam Yates