MATLOCK TOWN 2-1 CHESTERFIELD – DSC Semi Final
A brace from Massiah McDonald saw Matlock through to the final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup for the first time since 2010 as they totally dominated a youthful Chesterfield outfit at the Reynolds Stadium on Tuesday night.
But they had to come from behind for Jacob Hazel, who had a loan spell with the Gladiators in December, had given the Spireites, coached by former Matlock defender John Dungworth, an 11th minute lead from the penalty spot. By half time though, the hosts were level as McDonald scored on 36 minutes before he grabbed a 66th minute decider.
Martin Foster replaced the injury stricken Oscar Radford in the one enforced change from the line up who returned from Nantwich with all three points three days earlier. Manager Mark Atkins named winger Ryan Hindley and defender Ryan Laight, who had scarcely featured since the opening weeks of the campaign, on the bench with the Gladiators literally down to the bare bones.
Anthony Griffiths-Junior led the way in the opening exchanges, tying right back Jordan Slack in knots. His 3rd minute cross flashed across the six yard area before shortly afterwards another weaving run saw him flick the ball back in the direction of Foster, but a relieved visiting defence cleared the danger.
Foster was at fault for the Spireites goal with a misplaced square pass some thirty yards from his own goal which eventually came Hazel’s way with Foster clipping the striker as he tried to atone for his error. HAZEL fired in comfortably to seemingly give Chesterfield the upper hand.
But the goal only encouraged Matlock to dominate more. Foster was busy in the engine room alongside the excellent James Ashmore and former Spireite Gareth Davies while the Matlock back four comfortably repelled the little that Chesterfield threw at them. Griffiths-Junior and Brad Grayson were lively on the flanks, both finding time to support workhorse McDonald in attack.
For a spell it was frustration for Matlock with just the final ball letting them down. If it had been a boxing match, the referee would probably have stopped it. The visitors held grimly on to their lead with skipper Jack Broadhead marshalling his troops from a central defensive berth. They survived twice when Lukic was off target with headers but the equaliser eventually arrived after a slide rule chipped through pass from Ashmore threaded its way to McDONALD who calmly shot past goalkeeper Josh Barrington.
Within another sixty seconds Grayson had sprinted like a cheetah in a seventy yard dash from inside his own half before seeing his shot well blocked. Immediately in a rare Chesterfeild foray, Yates produced the challenge of the night to thwart Hazel deep in the Gladiators penalty box.
When McDonald was pushed on the eighteen yard line, shouts for a penalty were turned down by referee James Adcock to bring a good half to an end.
Matlock immediately went for the jugular after the break as McDonald’s shot was charged down and a wonderfully executed Ashmore volley was well held by Barrington. After Grayson pulled a shot wide when well placed, Matlock struck when Featherstone, up supplementing the attack, crossed clinically and McDONALD was as equally unforgiving, stooping to head in the bouncing ball.
McDonald was booked for clashing with Broadhead who was clearly pinning him to the ground before Matlock’s one scary moment of the second period came when Hazel hooked his shot over Jon Kennedy but Yates’ fantastic goal-line clearance preserved the lead.
But normal service speedily returned with Griffiths–Junior beating a clutch of defenders to turn and fire at Barrington, while Grayson might have shot rather than delay, the move fizzling out as Griffiths-Junior’s shot was swiftly blocked.
McDonald could have finished with a hat-trick, but after being set up ideally thanks to Griffiths-Junior’s unselfish play, he dragged his fifteen yarder wide.
The winning margin looked slender from the scoreline, but in essence it was a great deal more clear cut than that.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Lee Featherstone 4 Martin Foster 5 Adam Yates 6 James Lukic 7 Bradley Grayson (12 Will Dennis 84) 8 James Ashmore 9 Massiah McDonald 10 Gareth Davies 11 Anthony Griffiths-Junior
Subs not used: 14 Ryan Hindley 15 Ryan Laight 16 James Travis 17 Nick Buxton
Referee: J Adcock–Long Eaton Attendance: 478 Star Man: Anthony Griffiths-Junior