Whitley Bay 3-3 Matlock Town (Whitley Bay win 4-2 on pens)
As far as Matlock Town mess ups in the FA Cup go if this one at Hillheads Park doers not surpass all others, it is definitely right up there with the best (or worst)!
The Gladiators had fought back from a two goal half time deficit to level and force extra time, but by then the Bay had been reduced to nine men.
They went in front in extra time only to inexplicably surrender control by allowing a gung-ho Bay team on to them and concede an 119th minute equalizer. Once that went in the crowd could sense that a famous Whitley win was on the cards as all of their penalties were converted while Matlock failed with two of theirs.
There can be no excuses, Matlock continued their recent annoying and costly habit of shooting themselves in the foot with their promising start to the campaign in August turning into a miserable and expensive September.
Perhaps Bay’s opener on 6 minutes was a sign of things to come. Birthday boy Oscar Radford gave the hosts a present by giving ADAM SHANKS possession on the right. The centre forward cut in to drill a low effort inside the far post. Radford had at least two opportunities to clear his lines.
Matlock responded with a 12th minute corner with which Adam Yates made contact but not quite enough and the ball was hoofed off the line.
Shanks again dispossessed Radford on the half hour to find Adam Kempster whose low effort was pushed aside by George Willis before at the other end Harry Coates’ header was blocked at the expense of a corner with Town appealing for handball.
But Bay doubled their lead four minutes from the break. A long throw from the left was flicked across the six yard box and SAM NORRIS finished emphatically from close range.
It was nearly three seconds after the break but Willis was down quickly to parry another Norris strike.
JOEL PURKISS drove high and wide from distance before halving there deficit in the 55th minute. A beautifully constructed move down the left saw Ben Algar break and cross clinically for Purkiss to crack home a superb twenty yard shot.
A minute later Shanks received a second yellow card and then a red for kicking the ball away with Radford nearly atoning for past misdemeanors on the hour as his header struck the junction of bar and post.
A sliced Holland attempt, a fiercely struck Yates shot and a Niall McManus glancing header were all wide before reserve team striker Jack Siddall came on for his debut.
This now feisty clash produced a straight red for substitute Robbie Williamson for a horrific challenge on Radford on 77 minutes, Washington official Danny Markham having a busy night also brandishing yellow cards to Michael Laws and Chris Reid for the hosts and to the Gladiators Nicky Travis, Coates, Radford and Liam Needham.
Matlock had another handball penalty claim turned down and Yates flicked his header narrowly past Andrew Jennison’s right hand post before leveling on 83 minutes. Ted Cribley’s shot looked to be going in but HOLLAND seemed to make sure although doubt still exists as to who should be claiming the credit.
Travis nearly won it on 89 minutes when his cracking twenty five yarder was finger tipped magnificently over the bar by Jennison before Purkiss drove wide from distance.
Extra time saw Matlock dominate the first period and go in front when SIDDALL turned in a loose ball from ten yards and surely now Matlock were home and dry.
Laws was lucky not to be sent off for striking Siddall who had to go off for treatment and come back wearing a different shirt.
But then it all went wrong, and Matlock brought about their own downfall by conceding needless free kicks and surrendering possession. All they had to do was retain possession against nine men , but Whitley threw caution to the wind, pumping direct balls forward which had Matlock in all sorts of trouble.
Willis saved well from Kris Hughes and from the last of three corners, REID got the vital impact and the hosts went wild.
Then through all of their own making, Matlock had the nerves of the penalty shoot out. The visitors went first with Jennison saving from Travis and Kempster giving Bay the advantage. Algar netted but Holland missed with Cribley briefly keeping the Gladiators above water. But Bay’s penalties were perfect, Richard Flynn, Christopher McDonald and finally Hughes scoring to leave Matlock embarrassed and the Northern Leaguers beside themselves with sheer delight.
WHITLEY BAY: 1 Andrew Jennison 2 Stephen Gibson (12 Aristotte Guerrin 103) 3 Christopher McDonald 4 Richard Flynn 5 Michael Laws 6 Chris Reid 7 Sam Norris (16 Robbie Williamson 62) 8 Callum Anderson (15 Josh Day 46) 9 Adam Shanks 10 Kris Hughes 11 Alex Kempster Subs not used: 13 Daniel Gladstone 14 Stephen Young 17 John Redhead
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Adam Yates 3 Ben Algar 4 Nicky Travis 5 Harry Coates ( 14 Jack Siddall 73) 6 Oscar Radford 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Needham (12 Scott Maxfield 110) 9 Joel Purkiss 10 Danny Holland 11 Niall McManus Other subs: 15 Mark Hume 17 Ryan Pugh
REFEREE: D Markham (Washington) ATTENDANCE: 338 BEST GLADIATOR: Adam Yates