Matlock Town 2-1 Marine
For the third successive Saturday, Matlock left it late to secure victory and keep their play off hopes very much on track.
This time though they had five minutes of the regulatory ninety to spare, having previously hit last minute winners against Halesowen and Rushall, and it was a goal of quality from substitute Curtis Morrison.
Turning sweetly some twenty five yards out he smacked a power packed unstoppable shot past Calvin Hare to leave the ten man Mariners worrying more about their precarious position just above the relegation zone.
That goal lit up what in the main had been a scrappy affair. Marine to their credit made life difficult for Matlock by being constantly in their faces, although Adam Hughes made the Gladiators task a little easier by being sent off for a 57th minute altercation with Liam Marsden on the touchline.
Keeping the same squad who returned from Grantham with a scoreless draw, Matlock struggled to get going in the opening exchanges which saw Marine have more of the possession without seriously threatening Jon Kennedy in the home goal,
It was twenty minutes before either side managed a shot in anger, and then Hare was not extended as a Paul Ennis free kick was blocked by the covering defensive wall.
There was more promise soon afterwards from a neat passing move involving Ted Cribley and Ennis, Marcus Dinanga;s shot being deflected over the bar for a 26th minute corner which would see DINANGA claim his 26th goal of the season.
There was an element of luck about it as the ball appeared to hit Dinanga who probably knew very little about it, but nevertheless despite a visiting defender doing his best to clear off the line, the goal stood.
On the half hour Matlock won a free kick centrally with Michael Williams having two shots blocked, the ball then dropping to Dinanga who was denied a second goal by an outstanding save from Hare.
Matlock appeared to have settled but were rocked on 32 minutes when MATTIE HAMILTON charged down Kennedy’s clearing kick, the ball rebounding and crossing the goal line in spite of Kennedy’s attempts to stop it. Two strange and untidy goals had epitomised proceedings thus far.
That untidyness continued when Dinanga drove wide of an open gaping net in the 34th minute having been unselfishly set up by Cribley who might well have netted himself. It was a glaring miss, andhad that gone in, Matlock’s task would probably have been a good deal easier.
Hare came to the Mariner’s rescue again four minutes before the break as Jake Green latched on to an intelligent flick from Cribley to shoot goalwards, Hare getting down smartly to tip the shot to safety.
Matlock began the second half more positively, Niall McManus hooking his shot narrowly wide from a centre by Cribley before the dismissal of Hughes.
Chances were more frequent for the Gladiators now, Ennis nodding over the bar on 61 minutes, quickly followed by the energetic Joe Doyle Charles seing a twenty yarder suffer a similar fate. McManus then had two bites of the cherry from a 67th minute corner, slicing the second shot wide after his first effort had been blocked.
Matlock withdrew Williams and Green and sent on Andy Wright and Morrison, obviously going for the victory by opting to play a back three and add more firepower up front.
Doyle-Charles dragged a shot wide before Hare did well to keep out Wright’s twenty five yarder as the pressure on the ten men intensified.
Marine failed to have a single shot on target in the second period which was played mainly in the visitors half, but with Matlock struggling to find the killer touch until Morrison’s wonderful and memorable intervention.
The Chesterfield loanee celebrated his strike wildly, racing to the fans behind the Town End goal and then being subsequently mobbed by his ecstatic team mates.
Matlock then reverted to a back four as Nico Degirolamo replaced the injured Cribley and comfortably saw out the remainder of the contest to earn three precious points. With a lot of their rivals dropping points, it was a huge win.
It was not vintage stuff by any means as Matlock laboured to their victory, but at the end of the day, it was the result that was all important, and it was thoroughly deserved.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green (17 Curtis Morrison 69) 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus 8 Michael Williams (15 Andy Wright 69) 9 Paul Ennis 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley (12 Nico Degirolamo 86) Other subs: 14 Marc Newsham 16 Jamie Yates
MARINE: 1 Calvin Hare 2 Alex Davies 3 Peter Wylie 4 Kenny Strickland 5 Michael Grogan (15 Sean Hessey 90) 6 Adam Hughes 7 Sean Myler (14 William Doherty 82) 8 Zac Thompson 9 Mattie Hamilton 10 Craig Lindfield 11 James Foley Other subs: 12 Warren Bellew 16 Thomas Moore 17 Dean Porter
REFEREE: Aaron Bannister (Pontefract) ATTENDANCE: 441 BEST GLADIATOR: Joe Doyle-Charles