RUSHALL OLYMPIC 2-3 MATLOCK TOWN
Twice behind, Matlock Town simply again would not give up and the celebrations both on and off the field when Marcus Dinanga netted a 90th minute winner, his 25th goal of the season, said it all.
Matlock came through a tough test on a difficult surface which had been covered with snow at breakfast time and passed two inspections to keep their play off hopes alive, They also hit the woodwork twice, so the win was fully deserved. They will face countless other stiff examinations like this one before the season closes.
Michael Williams replaced the suspended Cleveland Taylor for the one change in the line up that had beaten Alfreton in midweek, Joe Doyle-Charles was back after his ban, but had to be content with a place on the substitutes bench.
The Gladiators came close to making a dream start when a 3rd minute corner was inadvertently headed towards his own goal by Aaron Forde forcing goalkeeper Jose Veiga to claw the ball away desperately with some visiting fans claiming it had crossed the line.
Danico Johnson’s shot from distance was yards wide before Rushall escaped again in the 12th minute, Dinanga being through in a one on one with Veiga who came out on top, pushing aside Dinanga’s low shot.
Matlock played some neat football on a sticky surface, that extra slice of quality being missing in the final third.
After their difficult start the Pics grew into the game a sthe half wore on, Sam Whittall rising above the Town defence to head over from a 30th minute corner.Liam Marsden then produced a goal saving block to keep out a Luke Bottomer effort before Rushall took a 37th minute lead.
Yates mistimed his challenge on Johnson and captain FORDE sent Phil Barnes the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Matlock made a spirited response, a power packed drive from Paul Ennis striking both a defender and Dinanga before with a minute remaining of the half YATES was on hand to poke the ball home from six yards after a penalty box scramble following a corner on the left.
Rushall though, made the better start to the second period, both George Bowerman and Forde firing wide in the opening seven minutes, Matlock then responding as Ted Cribley’s drive was nodded away by Joe Hull, Veiga being able to clear up.
Straight from Veiga’s clearance, the hosts regained the lead on 66 minutes,Michael Partoditeromo finding BOTTOMER on the right who advanced to strike a wonderful diagonal shot into the far corner and Matlock at that stage, probably regretting they had not made their early dominance count.
But again Matlock’s response was impressive, although there was a touch of good fortune about the goal four minutes after going behind. CRIBLEY cut in from the left to fire goalwards, his shot catching a home defender to loop over a stranded Veiga who watched in vain as the ball hit the net.
Dinanga’s fierce low shot cannoned back off the post with Veiga beaten as Matlock looked for the winner and shortly afterwards Ennis made a chance for himself as he beat Hull but the ball would not drop kindly, his shot from the dge of the box clearing the bar.
Matlock finished by far the stronger, their fitness again coming to the fore. An Ennis free kick was deflected on to a post before Dinanga was foiled by an excellent block by Veiga .But it was DINANGA who would have the last laugh in the final minute.
He ran clear of the trailing Olympian defence to maintain his composure, this time slotting the ball beyond the advancing Veiga and low into the corner with consumate ease to begin celebrations both on the field and on the terraces.
There would be no way back for Rushall now, and Matlock gained what in the final analysis could be a crucial three points.
RUSHALL OLYMPIC: 1 Jose Veiga 2 Aris Christophorou 3 Brian Smikle 4 Aaron Forde 5 Joe Hull 6 Henry Eze (14 Marcus Jackson 85) 7 Michael Partoditeromo 8 Sam Whittall 9 George Bowerman (17 Ryan Boothe 82) 10 Danico Johnson (12 Jaz Luckie 74)11 Luke Bottomer Other subs: 15 Isaac Cooper 16 Dominic Dell
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Gren 4 Andy Wright (15 Joe Doyle-Charles 74) 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus (17 Curtis Morrison 85) 8 Michael Williams 9 Paul Ennis (12 Nico Degirolamo 90) 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 14 Marc Newsham 16 Jamie Yates
REFEREE: R Dadley (Bedworth) ATTENDANCE: 204