MATLOCK TOWN 3-3 ALFRETON TOWN
(Matlock Town win 5-4 on penalties)
A dramatic Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final went to a penalty shoot out before hosts Matlock sneaked through to face Gresley in the final.
Alfreton looked to have booked their place early on when goals from Craig Westcarr and Tom Allan on 15 and 19 minutes put the Reds in the driving seat despite the Gladiators having much of the early play.
But Matlock yet again deserve immense credit for a never say die attitude and Marcus Dinanga netted the first of a terrific hat-trick to halve their deficit ten minutes from half time.
Dinanga made it all square on 68 minutes and looked to have won it for Matlock when he converted an 82nd minute penalty. But Alfreton roared back to have a goal ruled out and then equalise from the penalty spot themselves as Westcarr netted his second of a pulsating game with four minutes left. Then a breathtaking Phil Barnes save from an Allan header kept Matlock alive before the drama of the spot kick shoot out.
It was again a full value for money visit to the DCJ Group Arena as fans watched teams with contrasting styles. Alfreton a big side with several six footers played the percentage game, attempting and sometimes succesdding in pushing Matlock back and forcing mistakes. The Gladiators’ went for a quick passing game, full of movement and more pleasing on the eye and deserved their victory.
The hosts made all of the early running, Dwayne Wiley floating a free kick too high and then Ted Cribley latched on to a loose ball to feed Dinanga with Fabian Speiss down quickly to save. A Niall McManus shot drifted inches wide before in their first attack, Alfreton went in front as Allan knocked back a cross to WESTCARR who slammed the ball into the roof of the net from five yards.
Jake Green headed a McManus cross wide but the Reds struck again, as in the first goal taking advantage of some sloppy defending as ALLAN bundled in a cross from Niall Heaton at the near post.
Matlock though would not lie down. Cleveland Taylor drove narrowly wide from twenty yards before an off balance McManus saw his shot beat the post after a fine break down the right.
But a deserved Gladiators strike came when a surging run down the right from Andrew Wright was followed by a peach of alow cross for DINANGA to slash home from close range.
Game on. Speiss prevented a Matlock equaliser with a magnificent deflection on to a post from McManus just two minutes later, the momentum having swung towards the hosts.
Alfreton needed the interval to regroup and for a spell they looked as if they had regained some control. Allan’s shot from the left flashed across the face of goal before Barnes denied Allan with an excellent block, the Gladiators putting their bodies firmly on the line to superbly block follow up attempts as Alfreton looked to regain their two goal lead.
That resilience proved vital as DINANGA raced on to a slide rule pass from Cribley to take the ball calmly past Speiss who had advanced speedily out of his goal. He kept his composure to fire inside the near post as Speiss struggled to regain his ground.
The fightback looked complete when Terry Kennedy handled a McManus shot with a save Speiss would have been proud of. Nobody would take the ball from DINANGA who hoisted his shot high past Speiss and Matlock had one foot in the final.
Matlock breathed again when Heaton was adjudged to have fouled Adam Yates as he headed fiercely past Barnes just two minutes later but Alfreton found the onion bag from the spot when substitute Nico Degirolamo was adjudged to have fouled Mark Shelton. WESTCARR sent Barnes the wrong way and the scene was set for the shoot -out, but not before Barnes brilliant diving save from Allan..
Matlock went first and it was locked at 4-4 after ten attempts, Matlock scorers being Wright, Paul Ennis, Dinanga and Marsden, Andy Monkhouse, Shelton, Westcarr and former Gladiator Cecil Nyoni for the Reds. Cribley for Matlock hitting the bar and Heaton seeing Barnes save failing for Alfreton. In sudden death, Speiss saved from Green only for Kennedy to fire wide. Adam Yates put pressure on Reds legend Paul Clayton with a confident finish, but Barnes was the hero with another fine block to bring the curtain down on a thriller.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green 4 Cleveland Taylor 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley (12 Nico Degirolamo 56) 7 Niall McManus 8 Andy Wright 9 Paul Ennis 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley Subs not used: 14 Marc Newsham 15 Jamie Yates 16 Michael Williams 17 Alfie Smith-Eccles
ALFRETON TOWN: 1 Fabian Speiss 2 Ryan Wilson (17 Brad Gascoigne 46 (15 Todd Jordan 77)) 3 Niall Heaton 4 Terry Kennedy 5 Brad McGowan 6 Cecil Nyoni 7 Andy Monkhouse 8 Paul Marshall (16 Paul Clayton 83)9 Craig Westcarr 10 Mark Shelton 11 Tom Allan Subs not used: 12 Liam Hearn 14 Adam Priestley
REFEREE: James Oldham (Derby) ATTENDANCE: 401 BEST GLADIATOR: Marcus Dinanga BEST RED: Craig Westcarr