STOURBRIDGE 5-3 MATLOCK TOWN
What a game as the play off rivals went head to head and toe to toe in an eight goal thriller.
Stourbridge took the spoils to bring a bad week to an end for the Gladiators after their midweek defeat at Frickley but Town certainly gave it their all and on another day might have come home with a point.
The contest was off to an explosive start as a thirty yard rocket from full back DARRYL WESTLAKE thundered into the top corner in the third minute. Goalkeeper Phil Barnes did not stand a chance of keeping it out despite flying through the air to his right,.
But within three minutes MARC NEWSHAM, who replaced Curtis Morrison in the visitors’ starting eleven equalised, heading a Jake Green cross from the left over goalkeeper Matt Gould,
Michael Williams drove directly at Gould, but on 10 minutes the Glassboys were back in front, Adam Yates being harshly penalised for a foul some thirty five yards out by a referee who appeared all too keen to pull up Matlock for alleged fouls yet allow the hosts extra leeway.
LUKE BENBOW rifled the fre kick directly into the same top corner, again Barnes had no chance of keeping it out, As Barnes said afterwards “you expect probably one shot like that a season, but not two in seven minutes!”
Stourbridge won another free kick on 16 minutes which was not effectively dealt with and JORDAN ARCHER found room in the box to fire home a rising drive and Matlock needed to steady the ship. A shot from Niall McManus was comfortably wide and Stourbridge recovered sufficiently well enough to deny Marcus Dinanga at the expense of a fruitless 20th minute corner.
But DINANGA was on target in the 23rd minute when he slipped beyond a static home defence to fire under Gould and reduce the arrears.
Stourbridge’s two goal cushion was restored by the 27th minute when from a free kick which brought Joe Doyle-Charles a booking to add to Green’s earlier yellow card, Matlock again failed to clear their lines and ETHAN JONES was waiting on the edge of the box to fire low into the corner.
A McManus shot was deflected wide before Dinanga was cleaned out by goalkeeper Gould to concede a penalty, Gould was booked, a decision that angered Matlock who felt the challenge was pre-meditated leading to a dismissal. It was an argument the Matlock management team continued with referee Law at the interval. DINANGA comfortably stroked in his spot kick for his 30th goal of the campaign.
Williams and Dan Preston were both booked after a clash in the net as Williams retrieved the ball.
Barnes then bundled away a Leon Broadhurst free kick before everyone drew breath after what had been an unbelieveable first half.
It was asking a lot for the second half to match the opening forty five minutes. Benbow had a shot deflected wide in the opening couple of minutes before Matlock had a spell of almost sustained pressure for twenty minutes without extending Gould, A dangerous Ted Cribley cross flashed across the danger area before Stourbridge were pleased to concede a corner.
McManus was becoming increasingly frustrated with referee Law who booked him for dissent on 64 minutes and twelve minutes later sent him off for a repeat offence. Stourbridge’s match clinching goal on 72 minutes probably contributed to that as McManus was fouled in the Stourbridge half and there appeared to be two more fouls on Matlock players in the build up which culminated in skipper TOM TONKS heading Benbow’s cross from the left firmly past Barnes.
It was a shame such a brilliant, well contested game had been tainted by a referee who wanted to be the centre of the attention.
Stourbridge, with their well oiled attack look a sound bet for one of the play off spots. Matlock did not play badly by any means, but they need to rediscover their winning form quickly if they are to join them.
STOURBRIDGE: 1 Matt Gould 2 Chris Knight 3 Darryl Westlake 4 Tom Tonks 5 Dan Preston 6 Josh Green (12 Richard Sho-Silva 69) 7 Ethan Jones (17 Lewis McPike 81) 8 Leon Broadhurst 9 Luke Benbow 10 Jordan Archer (16 Chris Lait 78) 11 Brad Birch Other subs: 14 Kieren Westwood 15 Drew Canavan
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 (15 Andy Wright 82) 9 Marc Newsham (12 Curtis Morison 76) 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 14 Paul Ennis 16 Nico Degirolamo
REFEREE: Matthew Law (Leicester) ATTENDANCE: 819 BEST GLADIATOR: Marcus Dinanga