Matlock Town Eagles 3
Alfreton Town JFC 2
WHATEVER words of wisdom from the manager were shared at half-time with an Eagles side who had been out-thought and out-run in a disappointing first period, they certainly worked wonders with a revamped and totally committed second half that saw the home record preserved.
Two goals down after only 25 minutes, the home team had struggled to create and were indebted to some last-ditch defending by Jack Johnson and Liam Ashton, who forced the ball wide to Jack Crossley.
His quick thinking almost provided a rare opportunity for Scott Lester but the ball ricocheted to safety.
At the other end, it didn’t help, however, when the back four seemed to freeze, presumably anticipating an offside flag and then squirmed as the goal was scored.
Worse was to follow when a bullet header increased the visitors’ lead five minutes later.
The turnaround could not have been more dramatic. Jack Wilson and Ben Harrison both excelled in midfield, spraying wide to Jake Hatcliffe. His quick-thinking fed Jacob Gunton and when the ball could only be parried onto the post, James Reeves was on hand to fire in.
With their tails up, Eagles surged forward buoyed by the gusty wind and the chances began to pile up. With some inspired defending, Alfreton managed to keep their goal intact but their determination could do nothing to thwart Wilson, whose header was to prove decisive.
The visitors were stung into action but Matlock claimed the winner with five minutes left when Gunton turned and curled an unstoppable shot over the advancing keeper.