Basford United vs Matlock Town FC
Greenwich AvenueNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town FC1
BASFORD UNITED 0-1 MATLOCK TOWN
Matlock Town hit the summit of the BetVictor NPL Premier Division table for twenty four hours at least after this marvellous victory at highly fancied Basford on Monday night.
Substitute PITEU CROUZ stole the headlines with a delicious free kick from 22 yards on the left which flew past the despairing hand of home goalkeeper Kieran Preston to nestle in the far top corner of the net.
The Gladiators then had five more minutes plus any time added on by the referee to survive and they did it relatively comfortably. Another substitute Nathan Whitehead was within a coat of paint of doubling the lead when his shot was deflected on to a post and out for a corner.
Few Gladiators fans would have expected this win. After all a financially well backed Basford had hit them for six last season. A repeat though was never on the cards, due to a tenacious Matlock performance. Manager Steve Kittrick has got his players putting their bodies on the line, they work hard, there is tremendous spirit in the camp and the immense roar from their dressing room afterwards might have been heardfour miles away in the middle of Nottingham!
Kittrick was forced into two changes as Adam Yates had not recovered from his ankle injury picked up on Saturday, Jordon Cooke deputising and Crouz was replaced by Dan Bramall on the left flank. Goalkeeper Jon Stewart had recovered from his cut knee and was named as skipper.
Basford included three former Gladiators in Brad Gascoigne, Kane Richards and Callum Chettle who was on loan at Matlock last season in their starting line up with former Gladiators trialist James Carvell on the bench.
In an even start, Marcus Marshall’s pass to Andrew Wright was a touch too strong for Matlock to force a shot at Preston, Basford replying with a James Reid free kick which flew a couple of feet over the bar.
Courey Grantham shot tamely at Stewart when well placed in the 13th minute but Matlock were generally coping comfortably with the questions Basford were asking.
Matlock broke to force two successive corners through fine work by Bramall and then Wright and this was soon followed by a solo Marshall run in which he ghosted past two defenders in the penalty box only for Preston to make a timely interception.
The industry of Luke Dean stood out, constantly breaking up play and being on hand to instigate many Matlock attacks.
James Williamson could count himself unfortunate to be booked for a foul on Grantham, given indiscretions by Stefan Galinski in the second period which escaped censure.
Stewart came into his own tipping away a Reid free kick, the loose ball being played to the far post just beyond a stretching Richards. The giant Gladiators captain pulled off another good save from Grantham at his near post as the interval approached, when Basford were at their most dangerous. The hosts had moved up a gear and Stewart got more deserved applause after another diving stop from Reid.
Matlock engineered the first opportunity after the interval, Dwayne Wiley’s spectacular strike being deflected wide and from the well worked flag kick on the right, Dean cleared the bar from the edge of the box.
Williamson’s header back towards Stewart forced Matlock hearts to flutter for a moment before the visitors scrambled the ball clear but that was virtually their last worry of the contest, despite prolific scorer Nat Watson being introduced to the home attack.
Wright found the side netting from a tight angle as Matlock grew increasingly confident and dangerous. Crouz and Marshall combined sweetly on the left, the final pass just eluding the supporting Wright.
But Matlock’s bravery, desire and positivity was rewarded by Crouz’ magical strike, the nearest a frustrated Basford came to saving themselves was a Galinski header which was well off target.
Matlock had defied the odds, played with passion and were deservedly clapped off by the travelling fans who had boosted the Basford attendance to 501.
BASFORD UNITED: 1 Kieran Preston 2 Liam Bateman 3 Dominic Roma (16 Zak Goodson 86) 4 Matt Thornhill 5 Brad Gascoigne 6 Stefan Galinski 7 Kane Richards 8 Callum Chettle 9 Courey Grantham(15 Nat Watson 61) 10 James Reid (14 Jack Thomas 72) 11 Jamie Walker Subs not used: 12 Lewis Carr 17 James Carvell
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Stewart 2 Jordon Cooke 3 Ben Gordon 4 Luke Dean 5 James Williamson 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Scott Smith 8 Jack Rea 9 Marcus Marshall (12 Luke Hinsley 75) 10 Andrew Wright (14 Nathan Whitehead 75) 11 Dan Bramall (15 Piteu Crouz 70) Other subs: 16 James Tague 17 Ben Morris
REFEREE: Reece Davies (Ilkeston) ATTENDANCE: 501 BEST GLADIATOR: Luke Dean