Trophy best for Gladiators with second win in four days

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First half goals from Michael Williams and Marcus Dinanga ensured a second Matlock Town victory in four days over Grantham —and this time progress in the FA Trophy.

The Gladiators would have been expecting a more exacting challenge than the relatively easy one that Grantham provided.

The Gladiators never had to get out of second gear and keeper Phil Barnes will not have a more redundant afternoon all season.

The visitors named an unchanged starting line-up from the one that narrowly beat the Gingerbreads at the DCJ Group Arena in midweek as they sought to improve on their quite substantial earnings from cup games this season.

Matlock put the hosts on the back foot from the start, playing excellent positive attacking football.

It seemed only a matter of time before a goal would come and when it did on 23 minutes it was Williams again on the scoresheet, having also grabbed the opener in the midweek league clash.

He rose above the home defenders to glance in a cross on the left that left home keeper Kieran Preston helpless — his seventh goal of the season.

The pace of the Gladiators’ front two — Dinanga and Curtis Morrison — was a constant concern for the Gingerbreads, who could not get going against an efficient Matlock side who used the flanks to great effect.

When Dinanga doubled the lead five minutes before the interval with another fine header from a left-wing cross, the tie was virtually decided.

The big question was whether Matlock could add to their tally. The answer was no, but sensible game management as Matlock retained possession and took no chances meant that Grantham failed to mount a fightback.

The second period was more like a training match, a low-key affair where Matlock always had the edge and chances were few and far between.

But having worked hard to establish their lead, that suited Matlock.

Surprisingly there was a lack of passion from the hosts as the visitors strolled to victory. Adam Yates and Dwayne Wiley easily dealt with the limited threat from the Gingerbreads’ forwards and Liam Marsden and Jake Green were often able to supply ammunition from wide positions when they joined attacks.

Williams and Joe Doyle-Charles dominated the midfield — Williams’ goal giving him the star rating. With Niall McManus and Ted Cribley both also putting in a good shift, Matlock had too much for a poor Grantham outfit.

Grantham’s best performances came from defenders as they carried little threat going forward, but they would have been disappointed to concede two similar headed goals.

In the end it was a routine win for Matlock as another £3,250 in prize money went into the club’s accounts.

Matlock Town: Barnes, Marsden, Green, Doyle-Charles, Yates, Wiley, McManus, Williams, Morrison (Newsham 70), Dinanga, Cribley. Subs not used: Pursehouse, Yates, Grocott, de Girolamo.