Extra-time strikes put Matlock Reserves into final

Matt Andrews came off the bench to score twice in extra-time and defeat Cromford.
Matt Andrews came off the bench to score twice in extra-time and defeat Cromford.
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Two extra-time goals from substitute Matt Andrews saw off the threat of previously-unbeaten MRA Premier outfit Cromford as Matlock Town Reserves booked their place in the Divisional Cup final with a 3-1 win.

Keeper Marco Taaffe thwarted Cromford earlier on before the Gladiators could have taken the lead when leading scorer Dave Edge received the ball in space but was eventually crowded out by the joint efforts of Craig Gascoigne and Joe Kay.

With Matlock using the pace of Jack Siddall and Ollie Walden to good effect out wide, Cromford were struggling to keep their goal intact and it took a fine save from keeper Adam Gratton to keep out an effort from Siddall, palming the ball over the bar.

As the referee blew for half time the Gladiators were well ahead on points but missing a vital ingredient.

The young Gladiators started the second-half in much the same vein, making life uncomfortable for the Cromford defenders with the pace out wide still causing problems and inevitability this led to the opening goal.

The referee awarded a free-kick to the left five yards outside the box. Siddall chose to drive the ball into the near post deceiving the keeper with the pace and trajectory to make it 1-0.

The goal had an immediate effect on the Cromford players as they were now quicker to the ball pinning the young Gladiators back in their own half.

Matlock were conceding free-kicks in dangerous positions and from one of these Kay rose highest to meet a cross with a thumping header giving Taaffe no chance.

Cromford were now in the ascendency and very nearly took the lead when a free-kick on the edge of the box was brilliantly saved by Taaffe, before in injury-time David Awomola had a chance to win the game for Matlock but mistimed his shot.

The breakthrough came midway through the first-half of extra-time with Walden putting over a curling cross from the right which eluded Gratton and his defenders but found substitute Andrews arriving late at the far post to drive the ball home.

Ten minutes in to the second half of extra-time it was game over as Andrews remained calm to lob the ball in to an open net following a mix up in the Cromford defence and seal the Gladiators’ passage through to the final.

Matlock will now play the winners of the tie between Rowsley FC and New Mills Reserves in the final.