MATLOCK TOWN 2-1 GRANTHAM TOWN
Matlock returned to winning ways without consistently hitting top gear against a battling Grantham side they visit in the FA Trophy on Saturday as the second part of a quick double header.
Tuesday’s hard fought clash, played in constant rain on a cold evening, attracted a meagre crowd of just 234, disappointing with Matlock having a much improved season and playing some entertaining football.
It was never plain sailing for the Gladiators, who nevertheless though, deserved their win. They played in fits and starts, sometimes looking as if they could rip the Gingerbreads apart and at other times struggling to find that telling breakthrough. A 37th minute Michael Williams free kick had given them an interval lead which Grantham cancelled out through Lee Shaw ten minutes from time. A draw looked likely but ninety seconds later Ted Cribley netted the winner.
A win’s a win as they say and it was good enough for Matlock to regain seventh spot in the table after dropping to eighth following their narrow defeat at Whitby.
Captain Adam Yates replaced Nico de Girolamo in central defence but otherwise the hosts retained the strating line up from the weekend.
In a slow and scrappy opening it took a full fifteen minutes for a shot of any substance which saw Cribley’s hopeful effort from distance caught by goalkeeper Kevin Preston. Cribley tried again with Preston once more comfortably holding on before the Matlock number eleven collected a perfectly weighted crossfield pass from Niall McManus but delayed his shot and was forced wide so Preston could cut out his cross.
Phil Barnes watched a firm shot from Harry Clifton drift wide in the Gingerbreads first noteworthy attempt after 25 minutes with the Lincolnshire side growing into the game without seriously suggesting they could breach the Matlock defence. However some over elaboration from the hosts led to an uncomfortable few seconds which ended with Curtis Burrows firing a harmless cross shot high and wide.
In between, Joe Doyle Charles, immense in the engine room as he once again covered every blade of grass and winning the ball with authority and following it with intelligent distribution, was brought down centrally twenty five yards out, but Jake Green’s free kick was again meat and drink for Preston as a promising situation came to nothing.
But another ill timed challenge from Jamie Tank led to the deadlock being broken as WILLIAMS spotted a gap in the wall exploied by Doyle-Charles to fire clinically low into the corner. The goal lifted Matlock and the fleet footed McManus broke away down the right to slash a teasing centre across the penalty area with nobody there to convert.
Matlock looked for early joy in the second half and after Cribley had to settle for a corner from a cross when well placed, a Doyle-Charles shot lacked venom from another Cribley assist. Williams skied his shot too high after being set up by McManus with the Gladiators needing that second goal for increased comfort.
After Filipe Barcelo sliced his free kick tamely wide for the visitors, both Marcus Dinanga and McManus saw efforts suffer a similar fate, but there was an escape for Matlock just before the hour when Stefan Galinski’s header struck the foot of the post and bounced behind.
That should have been a stark warning for Matlock of the delicacy of a single goal lead although the busy Morrison was unfortunate with a stinging rising shot on the run which Preston superbly clawed over the bar, closely followed by another good effort which produced a good stop from the Gingerbreads custodian.
Grantham looked to be earning a point when with ten minutes left, LEE SHAW pounced on an error from Dwayne Wiley to fire clinically past an exposed Barnes, but to Matlock’s credit, they had other ideas.
Morrison’s probing run from the right, continued by McManus with referee Bell playing a wonderful advantage following a foul in the build up, saw the ball eventually reach CRIBLEY who guided a calm finish past Preston and win Matlock all three points,
It was the composure Matlock had needed in front of goal earlier and substitute Marc Newsham struck a post with the Gladiators game management being exemplary as they earned maximum points, despite a mixed showing.
Part Two starts at three o’ clock at The Meres on Saturday and Matlock can expect a testing afternoon from a hard working side who refuse to stop battling. But then again, that can be said of Matlock who at present, still nearly always put in a good shift when that extra slice of quality is missing.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus 8 Michael Williams 9 Curtis Morrison 10 Marcus Dinanga (15 Marc Newsham 69) 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 12 Nico de Girolamo 14 Alex Pursehouse 16 Jamie Yates 17 Kevin Grocott
GRANTHAM TOWN: 1 Kevin Preston 2 Luther Wildin (15 Luke Shaw 59) 3 Ellis Storey 4 Jamie Tank 5 Stefan Galinski 6 Michael Hollingsworth (16 Rhys Lewis 62) 7 Harry Clifton 8 Danny Meadows 9 Filipe Barcelo (14 Danny Durkin 73)10 Lee Shaw 11 Curtis Burrows Other sub: 12 Tom Batchelor
REFEREE: James Bell (Oughtibridge, Sheffield) ATTENDANCE: 234 BEST GLADIATOR: Joe Doyle-Charles