Matlock returned to winning ways without consistently hitting top gear against a battling Grantham side they will now visit in the FA Trophy on Saturday, in the second part of a quick double header.
Tuesday’s clash, played in constant rain on a cold evening, attracted a meagre crowd of just 234, disappointing with Matlock having a much improved season.
It was never plain sailing for the Gladiators, who nevertheless deserved their win.
A 37th minute Michael Williams free-kick had given them an interval lead which Grantham cancelled out through Lee Shaw 10 minutes from time.
A draw looked likely but 90 seconds later Ted Cribley netted the winner, enough for Matlock to regain seventh spot in the table.
Captain Adam Yates replaced Nico de Girolamo in the only change.
It took a full 15 minutes for a shot of any substance which saw Cribley’s hopeful effort from distance caught by goalkeeper Kevin Preston.
Phil Barnes watched a firm shot from Harry Clifton drift wide in the Gingerbreads first noteworthy attempt.
Some over elaboration from the hosts led Curtis Burrows firing high and wide.
In between, Joe Doyle Charles, immense in the engine room, was brought down 25 yards out, but Jake Green’s free-kick was easily saved.
Another ill timed challenge from Jamie Tank led to the deadlock being broken as Williams spotted a gap in the wall to fire clinically home.
After Filipe Barcelo sliced his second half free-kick tamely wide for the visitors, both Marcus Dinanga and McManus saw efforts suffer a similar fate, but there was an escape for Matlock just before the hour when Stefan Galinski’s header struck the foot of the post.
The busy Morrison was unfortunate with a stinging rising shot on the run which Preston superbly clawed over the bar, closely followed by another good effort which produced a good stop.
With ten minutes left, Shaw pounced on an error from Dwayne Wiley to fire past Barnes.
But after Morrison’s probing run from the right, continued by McManus, Cribley guided a calm finish past Preston to secure three points.
Matlock: Barnes, Marsden, Green, Doyle-Charles, Yates, Wiley, McManus, Williams, Morrison, Dinanga (Newsham 69), Cribley. Not used: de Girolamo, Pursehouse, Yates, Grocott.