UniBond League Challenge Cup Final - Second Leg Whitby Town 1 Matlock Town 3 (aet) Matlock win 5-3 on aggregate
MATLOCK beat the odds to win the UniBond League Cup on another dramatic night for Gladiators fans.
It took some blood, a lot of sweat and a little luck, but Matlock ran out 3-1 winners after extra time at Whitby's Turnbull Ground.
Two goals from Rocky White either side of Simon Barraclough's strike sealed the win after a rollercoaster ride.
Whitby were the hungrier side in the first 20 minutes. Craig Veart's long raking passes from left back and David McTiernan's industry down the wing caused Matlock some early flutters.
Andy Richmond spilled a routine header back from Steve Circuit and was rounded by Wilkinson, but when the forward, on loan from Hartlepool United, centred he found only Danny Bostock waiting to clear.
Richard Taylor and Craig Hopkins both shot high and wide for Matlock before the Gladiators carved out their first real opportunity on 25 minutes.
Barraclough played in joint player-manager Gareth Williams, charging in on the left hand side of the box. He placed his shot to the far post, but David Campbell was down well to tip it around the post.
Williams was then harshly penalised for what seemed a perfectly good tackle on Alex Gildea, 25 yards out from the Matlock goal and dead central.
Veart's free kick swung over the wall and was heading into the net until Richmond pulled off a superb save low to his left.
On 33 minutes, however, it was Matlock who took the lead. Ian Clarke's free kick was headed back across goal and over the stranded Campbell by James Lukic and White bravely risked an inevitable and painful clash of heads to nod the ball home.
White must be sick of the boxing puns, but the cut above his right eye and the accompanying black eye would not have looked out of place in the ring.
Whitby then contrived to miss an absolute sitter to level the match and put them ahead in the tie on away goals. Once again, it was Veart's long ball in and this time it was Liam Gildea who connected, but his header was tipped on to the bar by Richmond.
Wilkinson couldn't miss the rebound, but he did, giving Matlock the advantage at the break.
Matlock began the second half the stronger. Barraclough's left foot strike was well saved at the near post by Campbell, and the striker had a strong case for a penalty when he appeared to have been brought down by Danny Farthing, but the referee saw nothing wrong.
But as the half wore on and chances came and went, Whitby began to camp down in Matlock's half and they equalised on 75 minutes with a strike that would have been a worthy matchwinner on any other night.
Ormerod's teasing cross was met with a text book scissor kick from Liam Gildea from ten yards out, which Richmond was powerless to stop.
Having regained the advantage, the Seasiders had the wind in their sails, but found Lukic and Bostock almost impenetrable at the heart of Matlock's defence. Substitute Ryan Davis also got his toe in just ahead of threatening Whitby forwards more than once in the dying minutes.
Matlock held on to force extra time and it was just as well because 15 minutes later, the cup was as good as won.
A strong shout for handball against White in the first minute presented an early scare, but the officials were in no mood for any penalties on the night.
Clarke then sent a cross shot skidding into the Whitby box and Barraclough was just inches away from getting a toe to it.
They must have been working on that move in training because minutes later Barraclough latched onto another Clarke ball into the box, and this time he was lithe enough to twist into a postion that allowed him to poke the ball into the corner of the net for 2-1.
Again, Whitby came back, but this time it was the post that came to Matlock's aid. Veart's free kick from the right eluded everyone, but thankfully struck the woodwork.
A minute later, it was all over. Barraclough sprinted down the left hand side and into the Whitby area. His stinging cross was only parried by Campbell into the path of White, whose touch seemed to have been cleared on the line by Farthing.
But the eagle-eyed linesman immediately flagged to indicate the ball had crossed the line and the Matlock players charged towards their delirious travelling fans.
More than 100 had made the long trip, they sang themselves hoarse and, with Whitby now visibly shattered, they could begin celebrating a historic cup victory.
Matlock Town: Richmond, Circuit, Hopkins, Clarke, Bostock, Lukic, Warne (McNicholas 101), White, Williams (Webster 74), Barraclough, Taylor (Davis 81).
Att: 490 Star Man: Rocky white