SOUTH NORMANTON ATHLETIC 1-3 MATLOCK TOWN
Two goals in the last five minutes of the first half from Luis Rose and Shaun Harrad overturned the lead the Midland Football Alliance new boys had gained through a Shane Newton penalty in the 24th minute.
A trialist added the third goal in the second half in which the Gladiators spurned a number of chances to stretch their advantage.
Matlock will have gained more from this fixture than the win over a Mansfield Town under 21 oufit at the weekend. This was a hard fought, competitive game with the Shiners causing the visitors problems in the opening half.
After two early fruitless Matlock corners, the Shiners put Matlock under sustained pressure without troubling goalkeeper Phil Barnes. Matlock had two long range efforts from Michael Williams and a trialist which were off target and in between Harrad’s flicked header from a left wing corner was knocked off the line by Lee Mitchell.
But it was South Normanton who went in front when Max Hunt fouled NEWTON who comfortably slotted home from the spot.
Soon afterwards tricky winger Abou Sylla was sent sprawling thirty yards out by a trialist central defender, the hosts completely wasting the free kick with a tame rushed effort from Mitchell.
South Normanton defended superbly to halt Harrad who looked to profit from a left wing cross but the striker, who led the line superbly, was left ruing his ill fortune on 31 minutes when he turned neatly only to see his shot bounce out off the inside of a post.
Williams limped off with a tight hamstring but four minutes level Matlock levelled when Harrad burst clear on the right and looked up to feed ROSE with a low centre which the ex Ilkeston youngster prodded home, despite a valiant attempt from Mark Strzyzewski to clear on the line.
After Dom Allen was booked for a late challenge on the returning Ted Cribley, HARRAD showed his class as he latched on to a pass over the home defence to dispatch a controlled volleyed finish over the head of goalkeeper Charlie Mansfield to give Town the lead.
Matlock should have put the game to bed early in the second half. After Harrad’s free kick had narrowly cleared the bar and a header from a corner suffered the same fate, substitute Jake Green, playing as a forward, clipped a fine chance wide with only Mansfield to beat. Green shot wide again when well placed before on 61 minutes, some magic from Cribley in a weaving run from the left saw him play in a TRIALIST to net with a precision finish low into the corner.
Harrad fired too high before a fine save from Mansfield denied Cribley before the final chance fell to Athletic’s Tomi Jaiyeola who shot disappointingly wide as substitute goalkeeper Jordan Pierrpont came off his line.
SOUTH NORMANTON ATHLETIC: 1 Charlie Mansfield 2 Dom Allen 3 Lee Mitchell 4 Danny Roberts 5 Mark Strzyzewski, 6 Kewasi 7 Tom Jaiyeola 8 Dave Leigh 9 Lee Fell 10 Shane Newton 11 Abou Sylla Subs-all used—Sam Kellogg, Sam Sims, Kane Jellyman, Tom Leighton, Sam Groves, Paul Edwards, Anton Wedderburn, Kevin Hemagou.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes (18 Jordan Pierrpont 57) 2 Nico De Girolamo 3 Trialist (16 Ben Edgson 57), 4 Cleveland Taylor 5 Max Hunt (12 Adam Yates 46) 6 Trialist 7 Trialist 8 Michael Williams (14 Callum Lloyd 36) 9 Shaun Harrad (5 Max Hunt 76) 10 Luis Rose (15 Jake Green 49) 11 Ted Cribley
REFEREE: Scott Spering (Alfreton) ATTENDANCE: 130 (est)