Matlock edged out First Division South hosts Carlton in the Integro Challenge Cup on Wednesday night when goalkeeper Phil Barnes starred in the penalty shoot-out after a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline over the 90 minutes.
Going first in the conventional style way to decide a drawn cup tie, Kieron Wallace, Joe Doyle-Charles and Michael Williams all netted to leave Matlock 3-1 up.
Danny Gordon had netted for Carlton but Danny Elliott and Sam Bartram had seen their shots saved by the evergreen Gladiators custodian.
It was left to Tyrell Waite to confirm the visitors’ passage to the second round, calmly beating Jack Steggles.
Earlier the lower-ranked side had gone ahead as Jordan Wilson powerfully headed home a 23rd minute goal from a right wing corner.
Matlock equalised on 59 minutes with a copy cat goal, substitute Adam Yates finding immense power to put his head on the end of a Rhys Sharpe flag kick.
The big news beforehand was the return of full-back Micky Harcourt after a little over a season away at Handsworth Parramore. Harcourt was part of a starting 3-5-2 formation.
Matlock wasted a great chance of establishing a tenth minute lead as a throw from the left was helped on to Waite who found space intelligently but wildly drove his twelve yard shot over the bar with only Steggles to beat.
Five minutes earlier Steggles was perfectly positioned to hold a volley from Wallace.
Waite’s back header from a free-kick was gathered comfortably by Steggles and another chance fell to Boston United loanee Waite in the 20th minute when Williams played him through the heart of the Millers’ defence, but again the shot was an easy one for Steggles to gather.
Then Matlock virtually handed Carlton the lead on a plate. Skipper Dwayne Wiley’s unwise pass across the Gladiators back line put Nico Degirolamo in trouble and having to concede a corner due to determined harassment from an eager Carlton outfit. The flag kick was perfectly flights at pace and an unmarked Wilson headed beyond an unprotected Barnes.
Two minutes later Williams was cursing the man in black after he rejected penalty appeals for what looked to be a clear push on him by Kieron Walker.
Soon afterwards Nathan Whitehead, partnering Waite, had to be helped off with blood pouring from a head wound. Although he returned he would be part of a double Matlock substitution at half time as he made way for Ted Cribley and Yates took over from Degirolamo.
Steggles parried a Williams free-kick and a swiftly more frustrated Williams then fired harmlessly over the bar shortly before the half time whistle.
Williams gave the assistant some back chat to finally go in the book on 53 minutes sandwiched in between Steggles helping a hanging Wallace cross on to the bar and Cribley shooting directly at the busier of the two custodians.
But Yates’ piledriver of a header had Matlock level and with the excellent opportunity to reach the next stage, they poured forward with renewed vigour to have Carlton on the rack for a ten minute spell.
Cribley flicked a Sharpe corner gently at Steggles before Williams miskicked badly some eight yards out as Carlton held on grimly.
In a swift turnaround, the Millers found another gear to look the stronger side towards the end, but Barnes was not seriously troubled.
Yates was booked for a hard challenge on Gordon as Matlock passed their stiff defensive test to keep their hosts at arms length.
Man of the match over the 90 minutes went to Jake Green, deployed wide on the right of midfield in the opening half before reverting to his more familiar left back slot in the second period. Attacking wise he was a lively threat while defensively he made a number of telling interceptions.
Then Barnes’ brilliance took centre stage in the shoot out to make the headlines.
CARLTON TOWN: 1 Jack Steggles 2 Darol Lucas 3 Danny Gordon 4 Eddie Schoenecker 5 Riece Bartram 6 Keiron Walker 7 Robbie McNicholas 8 Danny Elliott 9 Jordan Wilson (12 Danny Fletcher 74) 10 Mamoke Akuraunu (14 Aaron Hooton 58) 11 Kaylum Mitchell (16 Kyle Stovell 65) Other subs: 15 Harry Gibbons 17 Jake Carlisle
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Kieron Wallace 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Nico Degirolamo (12 Adam Yates 46) 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Jake Green 8 Michael Williams 9 Nathan Whitehead (14 Ted Cribley 46) 10 Tyrell Waite 11 Rhys Sharpe
REFEREE: Gareth Davis (Derby)
BEST GLADIATOR: Joint—Jake Green, Phil Barnes.