Buxton FC vs Matlock Town FC
Silverlands StadiumNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town FC0
BUXTON 1-0 MATLOCK TOWN
Defender Dan Cowan struck the decisive blow on 17 minutes to win the top of the table A6 derby and virtually clinch the league title for Buxton in front of a massive 2456 crowd.
Only an impossibly looking capitulation from the Bucks on the final day at Stalybridge and an emphatic South Shields win at foot of the table Grantham can prevent Steve Cunningham’s men promotion as champions.
As far as Matlock are concerned, it’s going to be a nerve filled last day,the defeat seeing them slip to fifth behind Scarborough and Warrington, both winners on the day and ahead, just, of Bamber Bridge who have hit form at just the right time , their latest success being a 1-0 win at Lancaster City.
If Matlock can equal Bamber Bridge’s last day result, they will clinch a play-off place but it is now squeaky bum time for the Gladiators who looked home and dry a month earlier.
To beat top sides like Buxton, you need to take the chances when they come along, Matlock could not do so. Again there was no lack of effort against a full strength home team but Buxton looked to have more of a cutting edge.
Danny Greenfield and Osebi Abadaki came in for Jamie Sharman and Luke Daly in two changes made by manager Paul Phillips from DSaturday’s goalless home draw with Nantwich. Reece Kendall began in central defence alongside Ryan Qualter and Ioan Evans. Paul Cooper was again in goal with Joe Young still recovering from concussion.
Matlock made the brighter start although there was an early problem for the Gladiators with Reece Kendall being booked within the opening four minutes after a foul and a coming together involving players from both sides.
Matlock won a 7th minute corner, Hughes rising to head narrowly wide. Then Bucks midfielder Tommy Elliott was well placed to block Abadaki’s shot before Buxton’s first meaningful foray forward saw Kendall make a fine block to clear an effort from Lindon Meikle.
Buxton increased the tempo and made the breakthrough when a corner was recycled and COWAN Headed firmly past Cooper from six yards. Matlock therefore conceded for the first time in five games and seventeen minutes.
Matlock needed to regroup and were happy to see a Dan Newton free kick narrowly clear the bar , quickly followed by a long range blast from Warren Clarke which suffered a similar fate.
Looking to double their advantage, the Bucks threatened again when the evergreen Jamie Ward’s ambitious effort from distance was too high before on 36 minutes, Ash Chambers wriggled free to fire a diagonal drive which was deflected behind.
Shortly afterwards referee Stuart Morland agitated the Matlock faithful by allowing Newton to escape without a yellow card for a late challenge on Ioan Evans, Matlock would be more frustrated in the second period when Hughes joined Kendall in the notebook for an innocuous tackle on Cowan. Matlock held out until the interval with two fine blocks from successive strikes by Diego de Giralamo and Elliott.
Matlock had a great chance to draw level four minutes after the restart, Greenfield finding himself with a clear shot at goal which goalkeeper Theo Richardson did well to parry.
That would be Greenfield’s final act of the contest, Matlock making a double change which saw Sharman and Alex Wiles coming on, Abadaki being the other Gladiator to be called off.
Kendall headed wide from a corner n before Buxton came back strongly with Cooper glad to see Clarke’s shot fall wide before he tipped another Cooper shot over the bar.Cooper would then make a fine save to his right to keep out a De Girolamo shot as the game reached its climax.
A huge cheer erupted when the crowd realised Whitby had overturned a half time deficit to lead at South Shields. The title was in the hosts’ grasp but they were lucky to survive late on when Richardson pulled off a stunning save from a Hughes header and from the corner, it appeared that another Hughes header would go in but it was narrowly and desperately wide.
This has been the tale of Matlock’s last few games. They could so easily have grabbed a point but again there was a blank scoresheet.
Now, they will be hoping that lady luck will smile on them on Saturday.
As for Buxton it was celebrations all round afterwards, their title victory will be confirmed at the weekend barring a disaster. Matlock will be hoping they can find the goals to qualify for the play-offs and ultimately join them in National League North next term.
BUXTON: 1 Theo Richardson 2 Matt Curley 3 Sean Newton 4 Dan Cowan 5 Josh Granite 6 Lindon Meikle 7 Jamie Ward ( 16 James Hardy 85) 8 Ash Chambers 9 Diego de Girolamo 10 Tommy Elliott 11 Warren Clarke Subs not used: 12 Ben Turner 14 Mackenzie Heaney 15 Jason Gilchrist 17 Nathan Fox
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Paul Cooper 2 Callum Chippendale 3 Reece Kendall (16 Terry Hawkridge 77) 4 Ioan Evans 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Danny Greenfield (12 Alex Wiles 52) 9 Liam Hughes 10 Osebi Abadaki (14 Jamie Sharman 52) 11 Jesurun Uchegbulam Subs not used: 15 Luke Daly 17 Ross Hannah.
REFEREE: Stuart Morland (Liverpool) ATTENDANCE: 2456 BEST BUCK: Dan Cowan BEST GLADIATOR: Ryan Qualter