Dinanga strikes as Gladiators hold Championship Burton

Keeper Phil Barnes beats away a shot.
Keeper Phil Barnes beats away a shot.

All the goals came in an exciting opening half as Matlock Town held Championship side Burton Albion to a 2-2 draw.

It was another excellent workout for the Gladiators, who had five trialists in their starting line-up.

A trialist opens the scoring for Matlock.

A trialist opens the scoring for Matlock.

Burton included several first-team players, including Marcus Dinanga who scord 34 league and cup goals while on loan at Matlock last season.

Joe Sbarra gave Burton a fifth-minute lead but by the 21 st minute two trialists had scored goals within four minutes for the hosts before Dinanga got the goal he would have been craving in the 35th minute to level.

Matty Palmer had driven wide from 20 yards in the fourth minute before the Brewers opened the scoring with an excellent move down the left.

Jack Hallohan collected a throw to feed Dinanga, whose low cross found Sbarra to net at the second attempt after Phil Barnes made a great block from the initial shot.

Dinanga forced Barnes into another fine save from a powerful ninth-minute shot and Hallohan lifted an effort over the bar soon afterwards when he should probably have scored as Burton dominated the early exchanges.

Two quickfire goals altered the complexion of the game.

Jake Buxton could only divert a through pass to a waiting Matlock trialist, who calmly fired past the unprotected Harry Campbell for a 17th-minute leveller.

Another trialist playing wide on the right skipped past Damien McCrory only to see his cross cut out.

But the Gladiators added a second goal from a fantastic direct free kick that found the top corner.

Keeper Campbell, well bemused by the free kick, kept the Brewers in contention with a last-ditch save from the trialist who netted the second goal, while another trialist had a shot blocked.

Dinanga levelled when, after initially miscontrolling the ball, he won back possession and slammed a firm drive past Barnes from the edge of the box in the style that was a regular feature for Matlock last season.

Barnes denied Dinanga another goal with a good save and the striker lifted a shot over the bar to end what had been a fine first half of entertaining football.

The second period did not live up to expectations with a flurry of substitutions made. Clear-cut chances were few and far between.

Barnes did well to keep out a Matty Palmer free kick and Dinanga’s powerful shot was comfortably dealt with by the home custodian, while at the other end Campbell beat away a fierce strike.

In the closing stages former Brewer Joe Doyle-Charles shot narrowly over and Luis Rose drove wide.

Gladiators’ academy player Harry Wood was given a brief run out and showed great composure on the ball.

MATLOCK TOWN: Phil Barnes, Trialist (Liam Marsden 46), Rory Coleman (Jake Green 46), Todd Jordan (Joe Doyle-Charles 46), Adam Yates (Max Hunt 71), Dwayne Wiley (Nico Degirolamo 46), Trialist (Ben Edgson 74), Cleveland Taylor (Callum Lloyd 46), Trialist (Luis Rose 46), Trialist (Harry Wood 83) Trialist (Trialist 46).