MATLOCK TOWN 2-2 BASFORD UNITED
(Basford United win 9-8 on pens)
Matlock made ten changes from the side which started out against Workington last weekend and were unfortunate to exit the NPL Integro League Cup.
Basford, fourth in Evo-Stik NPL First Division South, fielded virtually a full strength line up and led twice, only for Matlock to come roaring back and then nearly clinch the tie.
In the end a penalty shoot out settled things, Matlock being 2-0 up at one stage before Curtis Morrison saw his spot-kick saved and it was then nip and tuck until goalkeeper Jake Wood pulled off his second save from Kevin Grocott. It was Ashley Grayson who kept calm to fire past Jordan Pierrpont who had earlier pulled off a fine save from Basford’s Kyle Nixon, the Nottingham side’s only miss from their first strike. Basford celebrated as if they had won the Premier League and will face Chasetown at home next week.
As well as naming Pierrpont, Matlock also included 16 years old Harry Wood and academy prospect Jordan Lee in their starting eleven, Joe Doyle-Charles being the only survivor the first eleven against Workington.
Adam Yates, restored to the Gladiators back four, was hurt blocking a cross from KIERAN WELLS who put Basford in front in the 12th minute, hanging in the air to loop his header from a right wing cross past Pierrpont who then stopped Courey Grantham’s header at the second attempt.
Matlock recovered from a nervous start for Morrison to force Jake Wood to dive to his right and claw away his twenty yarder. Anthony Dwyer’s shot was deflected wide before Wells reckoned he had scored again as he pushed the loose ball past Pierrpont who had parried a Nixon strike. But the assistant’s flag saved Matlock who according to joint boss Craig Hopkins were “given a good talking to” at half time. “If some of them were looking at breaking into the side, then they had to do better” he said.
Do better they did. Matlockian Sam Lavelle came on for Lee, slotted in at full back allowing Jamie Yates to push further forward.
Yates was soon causing Basford headaches with probing runs and came close to a leveller when his low shot from a Morrison centre looked a goal all the way until Wood’s fine stop produced a corner from which Morrison’s bicyle kick as he met an Adam Yates header was narrowly too high.
Genc Acar thought he had equalised when his 54th minute shot was tipped on to the bar by Wood, Grocott nodding the corner which followed wide.
Pierrpont, growing in confidence, pulled off a great save from Wells as Basford looked dangerous on the counter attack but it was all square on 66 minutes, MORRISON, from virtually nothing, unleashing a fierce low strike which Wood got a hand to but could not keep out.
GRANTHAM though, restored the Basford lead rolling a low diagonal shot beyond Pierrpont just ninety seconds later.
But Matlock would not lie down and after a corner from the left was ineffectively dealt with, ALEX PURSEHOUSE shot through a crowded penalty area to equalise again in the 73rd minute.
It was all set for a storming finale as Acar took on the Basford defence almost singlehandedly, his finish being a tame shot straight at Wood. The Matlock Wood was impressing too, showing maturity beyond his tender years in flashes, being high with two efforts and like Lavelle, netting in the spot kick shoot out.
Matlock defended well when Basford looked for the winner but the ninety minutes ended all square only for Basford to sneak through as the shoot out reached kick number twenty.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jordan Pierrpont 2 Jamie Yates 3 Alex Pursehouse 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Kevin Grocott 6 Adam Yates 7 Jordan Lee (15 Sam Lavelle 46) 8 Harry Wood 9 Anthony Dwyer 10 Curtis Morrison 11 Genc Acar Other subs: 12 Tom Savage 14 Regan Cooper 16 Jordan Wells 17 Billy Whitehead
BASFORD UNITED: 1 Jake Wood 2 Robbie McNicholas (16 Billy Bennett 61) 3 Jamie Walker 4 Fabian Smith 5 Lewis Carr 6 Deon Meikle 7 Courey Grantham (12 Ben Hutchinson 87) 8 Kyle Nixon 9 Kieran Wells 10 Callum Smith (13 Ashley Grayson 61) 11 Anthony Howell Other subs: 14 Reece Bertram 15 Tyrell Shannon-Lewis
REFEREE: Wade Smith (Manchester) ATTENDANCE: 185 BEST GLADIATOR: Jamie Yates