Matlock Town FC vs Marine AFC
Matlock Town FC3
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
MATLOCK TOWN 3-2 MARINE
Matlock won the three crucial points in a ding dong thriller at the Proctor Cars Stadium which had the 607 crowd on the edge of their seats from the start to the finish.
Louis Britton netted the first of his brace to give the Merseysiders a 15th minute lead but Reece Styche equalised for the hosts on his home debut twelve minutes afterwards before Al Byrne put Town in front in stoppage time at the end of the half. Britton made it 2-2 five minutes after the resumption before Karl Demidh fired in the decider in the 62nd minute in a game where there were chances aplenty which was also a credit to the NPL.
It was a game that in reality neither side could afford to lose but the pressure was more on Matlock down in eighth with Marine having a three points advantage over the Gladiators at 7.45 pm.
Amongst all of the hustle, bustle and excitement though, Matlock just might have found a new star as 17 years old Archie White was a revelation out on the left flank and deservedly collected the man of the match award at the conclusion of the game. White came in for Brad Abbott while Dan Bradley deputised for the injured Ioan Evans in central defence with Demidh being preferred to partner Styche in attack, Brad Wells dropping to the bench. Marine included former Matlock loanee Joe Bunney on the left of their defence.
Marine kicked off towards the cricket end and were immediately on the offensive with Adam Yates repelling their opening attack but the dye was cast with Matlock immediately responding for White to show Will Johnson a clean pair of heels, his cross being scrambled away for a fruitless corner with Marine custodian Bayleigh Passant being fouled.
A Styche free kick bounced off the wall before White had a fantastic chance of a debut goal, being played in on the left by Styche, his shot flashing across the face of the goal and beyond the far post
But Marine drew first blood when Bradley misjudged a ball played down the centre and BRITTON was on hand to shoot clinically past Saul Deeney. It looked as if it might be a crucial goal with Marine’s three points advantage over the Gladiators being temporarily stretched to six.
For a short spell Matlock looked second best but their hopes were boosted when virtually out of nothing, STYCHE turned his man superbly twenty yards out to fire firmly beyond Passant’s despairing dive for an outstanding individual effort.
Soon afterwards Passant was diving at Demidh’s feet in a one on one duel, the match being delayed for Passant to receive treatment after collecting a knock in the clash.
White threatened again down the left, his low cross being scrambled clear but Britton was proving to be the men in white’s danger man, advancing and shooting fiercely but narrowly wide from distance.
Passant denied White with a crucial save , the seventeen years old son of former Matlock favourite Rockie White, deserving to be on the scoresheet for an all action buzzing performance. It was the culmination of a beautiful move with Byrne, Johnston and Styche all involved in the build up.
Matlock nearly gifted Marine a chance to retake the lead when Sol Solomon went down in the box under challenge from Bradley, the ball being unconvincingly cleared for a throw on the left, Jordan Lussey’s long delivery being somehow allowed to find an unmarked Akiel Raffle at the back post who shot disappointingly wide.
The game’s only yellow card went to Jonathan Spittle for a foul on Byrne whose free kick was brilliantly turned from the top corner of the onion bag for a corner by the diving Passant. But there was still time for the Gladiators to snatch the lead when Johnston’s forward run down the inside right channel ended with a precise forward pass to BYRNE who delicately slid a pin point low shot into the bottom corner.
It was just the tonic that Matlock required, could they build on it in the second half?
Within ninety seconds White caused more havoc down the left, his decent low cross being helped on by Demidh to Styche who shot wide when well placed.
But as in the first half, Marine retaliated from an escape with a goal, a scrappy one that Matlock could have defended better. A right wing corner bounced around in the six yard box and BRITTON was alert to smash home to keep the points in the balance.
Britton came close to a hat-trick when he broke through again but Deeney stood up well to pull off a fantastic block save from the number nine’s powerful strike.
If he couldn’t find a goal then White had the consolation of an assist as Matlock restored their lead, White scampering down the left and his teasing low cross found DEMIDH to shoot clinically into the corner.
Styche broke clear but was flagged offside as the end to end affair continued. Solomon’s eighteen yarder was charged down with Marine winning a couple of late corners which came to nothing as Matlock determinedly kept the visitors out. Deeney made an unbelievable save to stop a Bunney deflection from a Marine shot finding the target, the effort would have been ruled out in any event as the offside flag was erect, but Deeney wasn’t to know that.
Six minutes stoppage time was played before referee Matt Tyers called time with both sides leaving the field to huge applause.
It had been that kind of game, no quarter asked or given but played in a great spirit aided by the referee who let a lot of challenges go unchecked but allowed the game to flow.
Matlock now go level on points with Marine but need a productive Easter weekend, to maintain their play-off challenge.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Saul Deeney 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Robbie McNicholas 4 Archie White 5 Adam Yates 6 Dan Bradley 7 Alex Byrne 8 Ethan Cartwright 9 Reece Styche ( 16 Harry Wakefield 90) 10 Karl Demidh (12 Brad Wells 75) 11 John Johnston. Other subs: 14 Brad Abbott 15 Alex Duhameau 17 Jim Pollard
MARINE: 1 Bayleigh Passant 2 Will Johnson 3 Joe Bunney 4 Mark Howarth 5 Josh Wardle 6 Jonathan Spittle (14 Kyle Hayde 53) 7 Ben Hodkinson (16 Josh Solomon-Davies 53) 8 Jordan Lussey 9 Louis Britton 10 Sol Solomon 11 Akiel Raffle (17 Joe Hardy 64) Other subs: 12 Luke Clark 15 Lucas Weir
REFEREE: Matthew Tyers (Sheffield) ATTENDANCE: 607 BEST GLADIATOR: Archie White