HEDNESFORD TOWN 0-2 MATLOCK TOWN
A second 2-0 win against Hednesford this season, and with the same scorers kept Matlock in the play off hunt on a day when everybody else looking for that final spot, except Warrington, won.
Both goals came in the second half of a scrappy encounter on a bone hard pitch from Niall McManus and Marcus Dinanga as Matlock wo comfortably, even missing a penalty, without hitting top form.
Jake Green, Andy Wright and Marc Newsham all came in with Rhys Sharpe, Michael Williams and Cleveland Taylor being named as substitutes as the Gladiators reshuffled their line up after the midweek hammering from Spennymoor.
They had the perfect chance to put that nightmare behind them when Ted Cribley cut in from the left and was fouled by Gavin Hurren to concede a 5th minute penalty but the usually reliable Dinanga struck a rather tame shot which hit goalkeeper Lloyd Ransome on his leg and was scrambled clear. Thankfully the goals in the second half meant it would not be another costly penalty failure.
The Gladiators continued to hold the upper hand without looking particularly dangerous, Wright pulling a shot wide from the edge of the box on 14 minutes after a spell of pressure, this being followed by Cribley’s shot being blocked three minutes later. But it was an untidy game, probably epitomised when a clearance from Dan Brenan hit Dinanga and bounced narrowly wide.
It was 27 minutes before the Pitmen threatened as Danny Glover’s shot was charged down but it was the catalyst for a better spell from Hednesford with David McDermott looking their most likely threat. He cut in from the left on 32 minutes but his shot sailed high and wide of the back post. Soon afterwards from a quickly taken throw on the left McDermott tried his luck again from twenty yards only for this attempt to suffer the same fate as his first one.
Adam Yates skied his volley over the bar when a free kick found its way to him before possibly the best chance from open play came the way of the hosts as Green did well to get in the way of a Glover shot which would have found the target just inside Barnes ‘left hand post.
The first chance in the second period fell to Matlock, the hard working Joe Doyle-Charles shooting directly at Ransome. Typical tenacity from Doyle-Charles saw him win two tackles when he was clearly second favourite, his industry being ended by Hurren’s late challenge which brought the Hednesford full back a yellow card. Green aimed the free kick towards Newsham at the far post but Ransome was alert to claim the hoisted delivery.
After Dwayne Wiley headed too high, McDermott was again testing Matlock, firing over the bar and placing a half chance wide but it was Matlock’s number seven who broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute. Cribley did well to Knock back a cross from the rght into the danger area, McMANUS’ initial shot hitting Newsham just in front of the line but sitting up neatly for the Matlock winger to clip a well conrolled follow up past Ransome.
Surprisingly Hednesford withdrew McDermott which would make Matlock’s task easier, their only worrying moment then being a free kick from George Washbourne played across the box with nobody there to finish.
A neat build up led to Matlock confirming their victory with two minutes remaining as substitute Williams and Cribley linked up to release another substitute Sharpe on the left. His pin-point cross was meat and drink for DINANGA to nod home his 32nd goal of the season from close range.
A McManus cross was cut out with Dinaga waiting to pounce and Williams saw a shot well saved by Ransome as Matlock finished the match in control and still hanging on in there in the promotion picture.
HEDNESFORD TOWN: 1 Lloyd Ransome 2 Gavin Hurren (16 George Cater 55) 3 Louis Danquah 4 Desean Martin 5 Dan Brenan 6 Joe Ballinger 7 David McDermott (17 Jordan Nadat 77) 8 Tom Thorley 9 Danny Glover 10 Tony Clarke 11 George Washbourne Other subs: 12 Dan Crane 14 Darren Campion 15 Jordan Fitzpatrick
MATLOCK TOWN:: 1 Phil Marnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus 8 Andy Wright (15 Michael Williams 57) 9 Marc Newsham (14 Rhus Sharpe 69) 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 12 Cleveland Taylor 16 Jamie Yates 17 Nico Degirolamo
REFEREE: S Mulhall (Northwich) ATTENDANCE: 353 BEST GLADIATOR: Joe Doyle-Charles