Under-strength Matlock Town produced an outstanding battling performance to win 2-1 at NPL Premier Division title favourites Spennymoor Town.
Town travelled without the suspended Michael Williams, Ted Cribley who was missing through work commitments, and injured leading scorer Marc Newsham.
With Williams’ possible replacement Nicky Travis also injured, Matlock had to reorganise and brought in Alex Pursehouse and Jamie Yates to the midfield while Curtis Morrison partnered Marcus Dinanga up front. Dwayne Wiley was recalled with Nico de Girolamo named as a substitute. Academy players Ben Edgson and Jordan Lee completed the squad.
Spennymoor, who travel to MK Dons in the first round of the FA Cup next weekend, were surprised when Niall McManus gave Matlock, attacking up the pronounced Brewery Field slope in the first half, a 12th minute lead.
He collected the ball wide on the left, cut in and floated in a teasing ball that may have been a cross or a shot. Former Alfreton keeper Dan Lowson, who had earlier allowed a routine shot from Macus Dinanga to bounce off his body, misjudged the flight of McManus’ ball to gift the visitors the lead.
The Moors won two quick corners before Robert Ramshaw’s volley cleared the bar. Matlock replied with home skipper Chris Mason being forced to head Jake Green’s awkward free kick over his own bar before Wiley saw his header held by Lowson.
Adam Yates did well with a clearing header as Spennymoor looked for a way back but Matlock defended well.
Spennymoor, sent out early for the second half, were instantly more businesslike and equalised within four minutes of the restart.
Adam Yates headed out a cross from Kallum Griffiths but Shane Henry won the ball back and his through pass beat Wiley to find Mark Anderson, who drilled a low shot beyond Phil Barnes.
The goal was the impetus for Spennymoor to have their best spell of the match.
A long-range strike from midfield playmaker Jamie Chandler was narrowly off target and Barnes kept Matlock level on 57 minutes as he superbly fingertipped a Ramshaw header over the bar.
Adam Yates, who appeared to win the ball as he went in on Craddock, was booked to put him out of the trip to table topping Whitby this weekend.
Wiley’s tremendous tackle halted Anderson’s run before Matlock broke for Dinanga to fire directly at Lawson, but it was a brief respite for Town who needed their captain to produce a great block from an Anderson shot before Barnes turned away a strike from Henry.
However, Matlock weathered the storm and regained control for much of the final 20 minutes .
McManus switched to the right flank and crossed for Morrison, who diverted the ball narrowly over the bar.
A rare McManus header nearly caught out Lowson, who caught the ball at full stretch.
Matlock’s winner came from a move down the left as Dinanga fed Morrison, who, at full stretch, forced his foot around the ball before it went out. His cross-shot squirmed under Lowson and over the line.
Dinanga pulled a shot wide after neatly holding on to the ball and halfway through five minutes of stoppage time a 30- yard strike from Adam Yates lwas spectacularly tipped over by Lowson.
Jake Green was named man-of-the-match, making a series of good challenges in defence and looking sprightly and dangerous when he attacked.
MATLOCK TOWN: Phil Barnes, Liam Marsden, Jake Green, Joe Doyle Charles, Adam Yates, Dwayne Wiley, Niall McManus, Alex Pursehouse, Curtis Morrison, Marcus Dinanga, Jamie Yates (Nico de Girolamo 86). Subs not used: Ben Edgson,Jordan Lee, Marc Newsham, Nicky Travis.