Saturday, April 14, 2012
Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Matlock Town 2
Ian Holmes 9
Liam King 73
FC United of Manchester 1
Adam Yates (og) 31
Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Adam Yates, Lee Featherstone (Liam Wilkin 79), Liam King, Laurence Gaughan, James Lukic, Ben Algar, Kris Bowler, Ian Holmes, Lewis McMahon, Paul Riley (Gareth Davies 58) Other subs: Kris Witcombe, Nick Buxton.
Referee: E Smart-Birmingham
Star man: Liam King
Ian Holmes and Liam King scored the goals as Matlock won a great game played in front of their highest crowd of the season.
Around 900 fans backed the play-off chasing visitors, which led to a cracking atmosphere and a game which was a credit to the Evo-Stik NPL.
From the Matlock viewpoint, it was a case of hard work bringing its reward for they had to be on top of their game to repel United’s attacking threat.
King returned to the starting line-up with Paul Riley and Ben Algar in place of Gareth Davies, Chris Bettney and Nathan Joynes.
United arrived having lost their two previous games, but with news of Northwich Victoria’s expulsion at the end of the season, they looked well set to take their place in the play-offs.
United pushed Matlock back in the early stages with winger Carlos Roca a constant threat. A fine run and cross from the right saw Matthew Wolfenden glance narrowly wide in the third minute and as United continued to attack, central defender Adam Jones nodded the second of two quick corners wide.
But it was Matlock who drew first blood from their first attack of substance on nine minutes.
Algar found Riley with a square pass for the number 11 to unleash a piledriver which was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Spencer. McMahon’s hoisted corner to the back post was headed back across goal by Adam Yates and Holmes was on hand to force home from close range.
United sought a response and again Roca threatened on the right and it needed a fantastic clearing header, at the expense of a corner from Lukic, to prevent Wolfenden from benefitting.
Then there was danger from the opposite flank as Astley Mulholland cut inside Yates but Kennedy beat away his shot aimed towards the near post.
But United levelled in the 31st minute with an own goal from Yates who was powerless to stop Wolfenden’s cross shot from going in after United had won back possession from a Matlock throw.
United looked to quickly gain the lead but Nicky Platt’s shot was blocked and, from a quickly taken free-kick, Roca shaved the woodwork.
Kennedy was well placed to hold Daniel Grimshaw’s shot but it could so easily have been Matlock in front come the interval.
With just seconds to go before the whistle, Holmes poked a great chance wide after being well found by Lewis McMahon.
Kennedy showed just why he is one of the top goalkeepers in non-league football with a fine save from Platt who then scooped the loose ball high over the bar.
Kennedy’s save, just two minutes after the restart, was vital.
It was good to have King back in midfield, winning his tackles and distributing the ball well plus supporting the attack. Wolfenden was just about to shoot when King appeared from nowhere for the tackle of the game.
As the half wore on, Matlock grew in confidence and stature and Featherstone’s great run and cross ought to have been converted just after the hour.
Then on 67 minutes Holmes set up McMahon who drove inches too high. Lee Neville was forced to head behind a fine Holmes cross destined for substitute Gareth Davies in Matlock’s best attacking spell of the contest. But they had Kennedy to thank for a fine save from Platt before Mulholland curled off target.
Matlock though, scored the winner with 17 minutes left. Holmes had a shot blocked before efforts from McMahon and Algar suffered a similar fate but the ball ran loose to King on the edge of the area who drove true and firm beyond Spencer’s despairing dive to the right as the ball nestled neatly in the bottom corner.
King was mobbed and now Matlock had something to hold on to, which they did without too much alarm. United’s attempts became increasingly desperate as Neville proved with a shot from distance which was yards over the bar.
It was Matlock who came closest to scoring again when Algar’s low free-kick beat a flat-footed Spencer, only to flash inches wide of the far post.
A magnificent win for Matlock which takes them past the 50-point mark and a pleasing performance.
There were big performances all over the park and while United will feel aggrieved to go home with nothing, Matlock can take pleasure from beating a very good side in what was probably their best display since hammering Chorley 4-0 back in October.