HAUGHMOND 3-2 MATLOCK TOWN
For Matlock Town fans the unthinkable happened as their side was dumped out of the FA Cup at the opening stage thanks to a stoppage time winner from Steve Hole, the Haughmond striker’s hat-trick goal.
Being on the end of FA Cup shocks is nothing new for the Gladiators, there have been plenty over the years and this one is right up there with the worst ones, particularly as they had fought back from two goals down.
Those first two Haughmond goals came in the opening twelve minutes when Matlock again defended poorly. They should have expected an onslaught from the Midland Premier League hosts in the early stages, after all it was their cup final and the Gladiators should have had more than enough ability and commitment to withstand it and then exert their authority on the game.
Matlock gave a debut at full back to Burton Albion loanee Jeyden Cotterill and brought in Callum Lloyd and Luis Rose in place of Joe Doyle-Charles and Darnelle Bailey-King who were named as substitutes.
The visitors were sadly off the pace and conceded in only the 3rd minute when the ball was played across their penalty box from an attack down the left for HOLE to crisply fire past Phil Barnes.
A Shaun Harrad free kick and a Dwayne Wiley header from a Rhys Sharpe long throw were narrowly off target before Matlock were caught out again, Barnes bundling into HOLE who emphatically scored from the penalty to put the Gladiators into deep trouble.
A slip from Adam Yates nearly let in Haughmond again as Matlock again looked far from convincing in defence.
Things started to improve for Town as Harrad put two headers and a shot from the edge of the box narrowly wide before a Ryan Wilson effort whistled past a post and an overhead kick from Rose was caught by home goalkeeper Ash Spittlehouse.
Parry drove narrowly wide on 43 minutes as Matlock again failed to clear their lines effectively before Harrad and Jack Griffiths were booked after confronting each other when Harrad appeared to be brought down by Griffiths, the free kick surprisingly going the other way.
A great save from Spittlehouse kept out a Sharpe header but Matlock maintained the pressure and ROSE hooked in a Ted Cribley cross with virtually the final kick of the half, Haughmond claiming Rose was offside.
But the goal stood and how Matlock needed it. They were back on the pitch early for the second half with, no doubt, the management’s words ringing in their ears.
They dominated the second half but could not finish off enough of the chances they created.
Harrad laid the ball off intelligently for rose who stabbed hurriedly wide before Spittlehouse comfortably held a Sharpe free kick.
But when YATES was left unmarked to sidefoot in a Ryan Wilson free kick on 62 minutes, it appeared that the Gladiators had got out of jail.
Haughmond cleared a scramble on their goal line as Rose and Cribley sought to apply the finishing touch and Bailey-King’s cross drive was deflected narrowly too high. Harrad was tremendously unlucky when his chip from the left beat Spittlehouse but bounced inches beyond the back post.
At the other end in a rare home attack, Parry miskicked when well placed, this being the signal for the Gladiators to counter attack quickly, a Bailey-King low cross flashing across the box with just a touch being needed.
Spittlehouse then pulled off a fantastic diving save from a Wilson piledriver destined for the top corner before Matlock’s world fell in and they only have themselves to blame.
Haughmond took a throw quickly on the left, the ball was played to the far post and pulled back for HOLE to shoot into the roof of the net.
That was it as far as Matlock was concerned, recent failings again coming to the fore against a team from two divisions below them in the pyramid. It was a costly afternoon all round.
HAUGHMOND: 1 Ash Spittlehouse 2 George Carpenter 3 Matt Fletcher 4 Arran Simms 5 Jack Griffiths 6 Carl Rogers 7 Dave Howells 8 Sam Phillips (18 Sean Jones 65) 9 Joe Parry 10 Steve Hole 11 Kevin Renshaw (17 Joe Morris 75) Other subs: 12 Luke Thomas 14 Dan Williams 15 Matt Owen 16 Jamie Hyne 19 Sam Jones
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Jeyden Cotterill 3 Jake Green 4 Callum Lloyd 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Luis Rose 8 Ryan Wilson 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Ryan Sharpe (16 Darnelle Bailey-King 72) 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 12 Marc Newsham 14 Joe Doyle-Charles 15 Nico Degirolamo 17 Harry Wood
REFEREE: J Shepherd (Dudley) ATTENDANCE: 236 BEST GLADIATOR: Ryan Wilson