MATLOCK TOWN 3-0 ASHTON UNITED
Three second half goals gave Matlock their most comfortable home victory of the season against a mid table Ashton side who were a pale shadow of the team which had beaten Matlock 1-0 at Hurst Cross just seven days earlier.
Michael Williams, Marcus Dinanga and skipper Adam Yates were the marksmen on a lovely sunny Spring afternoon, the victory keeping the Gladiators play off hopes alive but in the knowledge that they need to now go on a winning run to make their dreams a reality.
In early pressure from the hosts,Dwayne Wiley nodded their third corner of the game wide after five minutes to be followed by penalty appeals being turned down as Matlock claimed a hand ball from a Dinanga strike and Cleveland Taylor seeing a long distance strike easily saved by goalkeeper Luke Pilling.
Rhys Sharpe had a better effort from a free kick which Pilling turned over the bar before Ashton were fortunate to still have eleven players on the field when on 37 minutes Jack Dyche elbowed Adam Yates in the face and escaped with a yellow card from a weak referee who never gained adequate control of the game all afternoon.
The half ended with Sharpe’s specu;ative effort going wide and the visitors not having a shot at Phil Barnes thus far.
There was a worry for Matlock when Dinanga collided with a post two minutes into the second half as Pilling caught a hanging centre from the right but four minutes later the Gladiators made the vital breakthrough. Taylor hoisted a clever ball into the box and WILLIAMS nodded precisely over Pilling to give Matlock a deserved lead.
Wiley came close to doubling the lead in the 56th minute, flicking a header narrowly wide when Sharpe crossed from the left. Soon afterwards Niall McManus who was a constant thorn in Ashton’s side, found room behind full back Stephen Mason and Pilling had to turn away his power packed shot with Matlock in full flow looking for that important second goal.
It took until the 64th minute for Ashton’s first shot at goal and even then Barnes was not troubled as a diagonal shot from Dyche bounced yards wide of the far post.
DINANGA’s 31st goal of the season on 71 minutes put daylight between the sides. Put clear by Taylor down the right, he outpaced the trailing Ashton defenders to steer a precise low shot into the opposite corner.
YATES capped his return after injury with his 2nd goal of the season six minutes later, towering above the Robins’ defenders to head in Sharpe’s corner from the left.
It was only with the game well and truly over that Ashton offered a threat, Dyche cutting in from the right and getting the better of Yates, his final low shot being pushed aside by Barnes.
In the dying embers, substitute and co-boss Jody Banim shot tamely at Barnes, but Matlock still created chances themselves,Marc Newsham heading wide and a volley from McManus narrowly clearing the bar.
But another encouraging attendance of 453 had been well entertained, Matlock had grabbed the vital win and the play off dream is still on. Unfortunately a lot of results eleswhere did not go Matlock’s way, but as joint boss Glenn Kirkwood said afterwards, all Matlock can do is win their own games . They won this one emphatically.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green 4 Cleveland Taylor (15 Andy Wright 81) 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus 8 Michael Williams 9 Curtis Morrison (12 Marc Newsham 78) 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Rhys Sharpe Other subs: 14 Joe Doyle-Charles 16 Nico Degirolamo 17 Ted Cribley
ASHTON UNITED: 1 Luke Pilling 2 Dominic Smalley 3 Stephen Mason 4 Max Cartwright 5 Simon Woodford 6 Mark Lees 7 Charlie Duke(12 Jody Banim 78) 8 Josh Stachini 9 Jack Dyche 10 Lee Knight (14 Cavell Coo 57) 11 Ryan Crowther Other subs: 15 John Roberts 16 Benito Lowe 17 Will Haining
REFEREE: M Sutcliffe (Bury) ATTENDANCE: 453 BEST GLADIATOR: Niall McManus