Matlock Town 1-0 Rushall Olympic
Few substitutes on their debut can have made the instant impact Craig Nelthorpe did for Matlock Town at the Autoworld Arena on Tuesday night.
Mark Hume sent on his latest new signing in the 56th minute and by the 57th minute, he had not only partly created, but had scored the decisive goal which gave the Gladiators a second 1-0 home victory in four days and a first league double of the campaign.
Nelthorpe jumped and punched the air in delight in a merry jig after his far post header from a pin point Ted Cribley cross flashed beyond Pics custodian Dean Coleman to get his second spell at Matlock off to a dream start.
This win had shades of Saturday’s triumph over Ashton in that Town had to withstand heavy second half pressure to earn their victory. Once again they showed battling qualities and a keen resolve to keep a clean sheet and once again they were rewarded with the sweet scent of victory.
The one criticism that could be raised at Hume’s team was the failure to finish off their chances. Scoring only once led to a nervous nail biting finale.
Early on Matlock found themselves in a series of promising situations, only to let themselves down with a faulty final ball.
A 13th minute Laurie Wilson free kick shaved the outside of the post after Cribley’s penetrating run had been ended by Mitchell Tolley’s foul before two minutes later a neat interchange involving Niall McManus, Cribley and Sam Smith saw McManus fire against Coleman’s legs. Two corners quickly followed with Cribley’s drive being blocked before Rushall broke at pace to force a corner of their own which saw Gavin Caines fire powerfully wide.
Then Smith latched on to a fabulous long ball from Adam Yates on the left only to cross behind McManus before Smith could only shoot straight at Coleman.
After a McManus cross flashed across the six yard box ,Smith’s deflected effort fell kindly for Coleman, then Wilson’s shot was blocked before seconds prior to the half time whistle, Smith missed the best chance. Indecision in the Pics defence saw him in a one on one duel with Coleman only for the striker to stroke the ball wide.
Rushall also had opportunities in an open first period, notably when Carl Palmer’s shot was comfortably gathered by George Willis who also showed the minimum of fuss in holding a Kris Taylor effort.
Smith nodded wide from a 47th minute corner and Danny Holland’s shot was charged down after smart work by Ben Algar who was proving equally effective in defence and attack. Willis was then down quickly to smother a low strike from Ryan Edmunds before then came the decisive moment which was worth the admission fee alone.
Rushall did their level best to save themselves, Willis making a great stop from his own defender Micky Harcourt to prevent an own goal.
Willis, growing increasingly confident with every appearance, kept out a Jamie Spencer strike at full stretch and when he was beaten on 69 minutes by Caines’ shot following a free kick, referee Peter Sporne disallowed the “goal” for hand ball.
McManus cut in from the left to fire too high before two more excellent opportunities went begging with Matlock trying to walk the ball in, the first with McManus’ pass to Cribley being cut out and then McManus eventually feeding Smith whose shot was directly at Coleman.
Two late injury blows for Matlock saw Cribley and substitute Liam Gaughan helped off with the hosts playing the dying embers of the contest with ten men.
Rushall substitute Alex Reid pulled his shot wide two minutes into stoppage time as Matlock held on .
Nelthorpe though had shown his new team mates, and the opposition for that matter, how to fashion and finish a chance, and win a tight game.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Jason Paling 3 Ben Algar 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Adam Yates 6 Micky Harcourt 7 Ted Cribley (16 Liam Gaughan 84) 8 Liam Needham 9 Sam Smith 10 Danny Holland (17 Craig Nelthorpe 56) 11 Niall McManus (12 Jordan Deacey 78) Other subs: 14 Joel Purkiss 15 Harry Coates
RUSHALL OLYMPIC: 1 Dean Coleman 2 Aris Kristophorou 3 Daniel Wilkinson 4 Mitchell Tolley (16 Jack Roberts 46) 5 Aaron Brown 6 Gavin Caines 7 Jordan Fitzpatrick 8 Carl Palmer 9 Malachi Farquharson (12 Jamie Spencer 59) 10 Kris Taylor 11 Ryan Edmunds (15 Alex Reid 64) Other subs: 13 Jonathan Brown 14 Nick Wright
REFEREE: P Sporne (Sheffield) ATTENDANCE: 237 BEST GLADIATOR: Ben Algar