MATLOCK TOWN 3-1 BUXTON
A massive 1051 gate saw Matlock Town deservedly earn local bragging rights with their first home league win against the Bucks since Good Friday 2008.
After a tentative start Matlock began to turn the screw and scored twice in two first half minutes through Nico Degirolamo and Alex Pursehouse only for Bradley Grayson to halve the deficit for the visitors almaost immediately. Then Matlock might have added to their tally before half time, Buxton made a fight of it in the second period and might have equalised through substitute Nicky Walker before Niall McManus slammed home a fantastic third for the Gladiators who were facing a strong wind throughout the second period.
So the win sees the Gladiators make up ground on the Bucks, the Silverlands outfit now having only three more points than Matlock who crucially have thre games in hand.
Both sides were without key personnel, Matlock suffering a blow as top scorer Marcus Dinanga was ruled out through illness. Buxton had made a number of signings in the run up to the clash, most notably signing reality TV star Luis Morrison from Altrincham who came in to the centre of their defence.
The first chance fell to Matlock in the 12th minute when from a Jake Green set piece on the left, Jan Budtz managed to half block a Dwayne Wiley header and Marc Newsham on the turn fired goalwards but could not find the power to profit from the opportunity. Set plays from Green were causing Buxton countless problems and Budtz had to again be alert to push away another Wiley header, so it was no surprise that Matlock eventually struck gold from a 27th minute corner. Green again took it and this time it was DEGIROLAMO who rose unchallenged to power a downward header into the bottom left hand corner.
By the 29th minute it was two for the hosts, as Michael Williams who was pushed up front in Dinanga’s absence, foraged hard alongside McManus to win the ball deep in the Buxtobn half. McManus drove forwards and Budtz could not hang on to his low sizzling shot and PURSEHOUSE, given a start in midfield was alert to slide home the loose ball.
But Buxton respondedimmediately with a messy goal from the hosts’ viewpoint when from a Jamie Green free kick out on the right, the ball was bundled past former Buxton goalkeeper Phil Barnes. Initial ompressions were that Keegan Everington was the scorer but after match deliberation saw the strike creditted to former Matlock striker BRADLEY GRAYSON.
Matlock were soon back on the attack and could and probably have put the game to bed by half time. Budtz pulled off a fine save from a Newsham header before the Matlock striker had another effort cleared off the line by Jamie Green. Then Williams’ industry on the right was very nearly rewarded as he managed to pull the ball back across goal a yard out and it only needed a touch for Matlock to be celebrating a third goal.
In the second half with a strong wind blowing into their faces it was a case of Matlock having to do the ugly things well, with Buxton predictably having more of the possession.
Newsham lobbed gently at Budtz following a free kick on the left but Buxton were having their best spell of the game and there was an escape for the hosts on 58 minutes when Walker burst through to sidestep Barnes but could only shoot into the sidenetting with Liam Marsden making up ground to cover on the goal-line.
But Buxton lacked the penetration to find the equaliser as a shot from Jamie Jackson passed harmlessly wide and another deflected gently to Barnes.
There seemed to be more of a threat at the other end as Budtz held a well struck Williams shot and the excellent McManus teased Green before firing an inviting low centre across goal which only needed a touch to find the onion bag.
But McMANUS capped a fine afternoon’s work with a brilliant goal on 76 minutes to secure the points for Town. A feft flicked header on from Williams sent McManus clear on the right and with both Morrison and Joel Bembo-Leta trying to restrict the shooting angle, the Matlock number seven bided his time before planting a fierce low cross shot into the bottom corner to cue mass celebrations amongst the vast home support. Only a fine save from Budtz stopped McManus from netting again.
The Gladiators still had some defending to do though and Buxton will be wondering just how they did not reduce their arrears with five minutes left when Walker had a shot blocked , the ball rebounding to skipper Ricky Ravenhill whose shot was blocked by Barnes who was still on the floor!
That was the final action of note in a sometimes feisty derby which saw cautions for Matlock’s Williams and four Bucks in Everington, Alistair Taylor, Ravenhill and Budtz.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green (15 Kevin Grocott 56) 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Nico Degirolamo 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus 8 Michael Williams 9 Marc Newsham (14 Jamie Yates 71) 10 Ted Cribley 11 Alex Pursehouse Other subs: 12 Adam Yates 16 Mason Warren
BUXTON: 1 Jan Budtz 2 Matthew Williams 3 Jamie Green 4 Ricky Ravenhill 5 Luis Morrison 6 Joel Bembo-Leta 7 Niall Doran(14 William Hasler-Cregg 71) 8 Keegan Everington 9 Bradley Grayson 10 Alistair Taylor (15 Nicky Walker 52) 11 Max Cartwright (12 Jamie Jackson 56) Other sub: 16 Fabrice Bembo-Leta
REFEREE: Tom Parsons (Lancashire) ATTENDANCE: 1051 BEST GLADIATOR: Niall McManus BEST BUCK: Jamie Green