September 26, 2015
Score: 2 - 1
Grantham Town 2-1 Matlock Town
Matlock snatched defeat from the jaws of victory inexcusably letting a winning position slip away at The Meres on Saturday.
Grantham had not won all season and were trailing again with only three minutes remaining. But Matlock had not finished the job off and were made to pay dearly for it.
Laurie Wilson on his first return to Grantham with Matlock had given his side an early lead and they then had enough opportunities to make the game safe.
But sensing they were still very much in the match, The Gingerbreads staged a late rally with Rhys Lewis levelling on 87 minutes and Brad McGowan heading in a dramatic winner three minutes into stoppage time.
September has been a sorry month for Matlock, this defeat making it six winless matches including the horrible FA Cup replay loss at Whitley Bay.
Here was the chance to get back on track and it was wasted.
Grantham started brightly with burly centre forward Greg Smith, signed from Stamford on Friday, knocking down a long ball to onrushing full back Danny Meadows whose shot stung the fingers of George Willis inside the opening twenty seconds.
Matlock replied with Ted Cribley, who passed a late fitness test, seeing his shot charged down before the Gladiators were fortunate to survive a 10th minute corner which saw Lee Beeson’s header hacked off the line.
But Matlock made the best possible response in a near build up down the right. Some neat passing from Niall McManus and Jordan Deacey fed WILSON who shot precisely into the far corner from fifteen yards.
The Gladiators then looked in complete command. McManus crossed for Liam Needham whose shot struck a defender and earned a corner, the intervention almost certainly preventing a second Matlock goal. Needham then had another opportunity but delayed his shot too long and the chance had gone.
In the run up to the interval Harry Coates tamely nodded a corner directly at goalkeeper Jake Turner and a header from Danny Holland was booted clear as Matlock piled on the pressure.
The opening twenty five minutes of the second half were scrappy and shapeless but there was nothing to suggest Matlock’s lead would be threatened.
Then Matlock had two chances in quick succession to wrap up the points.
Cribley drove high over the bar when well placed on 72 minutes and four minutes later Matlock let the hosts off the hook again as they tried to walk the ball in, Deacey eventually pulling his shot wide.
Grantham fired warning shots of their fightback being first to nearly every challenge. Jamie McGhee drove too high on 79 minutes and McGowan’s effort suffered a similar fate three minutes afterwards.
But the equaliser came when Grantham opened up Matlock in a break on the right and RHYS LEWIS up in support, drove firmly past Willis from the edge of the box.
Then a Smith cross from the left flashed along the six yard line with nobody there to convert, but Grantham came again.
A free kick was only partially cleared and when the ball was hoisted back into the mix, McGowan outjumped everyone to power home his header to leave the hosts derilious with joy and Matlock followers shaking their heads in disbelief.
What a giveaway!
GRANTHAM TOWN: 1 Jake Turner 2 Danny Meadows 3 Ellis Storey (15 Michael Emmott 28) 4 Michael Hollingsworth 5 Lee Beeson 6 Brad McGowan 7 Jamie McGhee 8 Rhys Lewis 9 Greg Smith 10 Ben Saunders 11 Lee Shaw Other subs: 12 Lawrence Gorman 14 Jack Beckett 16 Stefan Bilyk 17 Carlos Vagaroso
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Jason Paling 3 Ben Algar 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Adam Yates 6 Harry Coates 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Needham 9 Niall McManus (15 Nathan Forbes 74) 10 Danny Holland (14 Joel Purkiss 74) 11 Jordan Deacey Other subs: 12 Scott Maxfield 16 Jack Siddall 18 Ryan Pugh
REFEREE: W Porter (Bourne) ATTENDANCE: 183 BEST GLADIATOR: Jordan Deacey