Match report: Grantham Town 0 Matlock Town 1
Declan Walker’s 24th minute penalty gave Matlock Town another 1-0 win at Grantham.
The win came on the back of Matlock’s FA Cup win on the same ground 18 days earlier.
It was a second successive clean sheet in tricky away games after their victory at title favourites South Shields on Saturday.
With Adam Yates, Liam Hughes and Kade Coppin serving suspensions, Jake Hull and Callum Chippendale made their first starts of the season with Nathan Whitehead surprisingly being added to the bench with Craig King out through sickness.
Chippendale drove too high in Matlock’s first attack but the visitors took time to settle as the Gingerbreads looked to upset the odds and gain their first win of the season.
Matlock had to survive a couple of teasing corners and crosses from Jack Stobbs and Nathan Dyer and they breathed again when Ashley Worsfold nodded a cross from the left past Rowley in the 12th minute, but the raised flag from the assistant kept the score level.
After a shot from distance by Alistair Taylor was always rising, Matlock responded with a Ryan Qualter volley suffering the same fate before came the deciding moment. Referee Scott Mason waved away spot kick appeals when Qualter looked to be tripped but seconds later Bunney was needlessly tripped and WALKER made no mistake from twelve yards, sending goalkeeper Jan Budtz the wrong way and rifling a fierce strike low into the corner.
Captain Alex Byrne and Bunney both had shots blocked and Bunney drove narrowly wide as Matlock looked to punish the hosts further, Reece Kendall then volleying a couple of yards wide when well placed. Budtz then completely misjudged a Byrne free kick from the left, two of his defenders combining to kock the ball away for an unproductive corner.
Grantham made a spirited response forcing four quick corners and in this intense spell Shaun Rowley did well to keep out a Worsfold header. Chippendale showed neat close control to screw a low shot goalwards which Budtz managed to keep out low to his right before in an almost instant reply, Dyer’s shot was saved by Rowley in the last action of a tight and competitive opening half.
A long range attempt from Walker dropped wide in the opening attack of the new half which had begun in scrappy fashion.
Grantham increased the tempo and the pressure on a Matlock defence again looking strong, Hull, Qualter and Sam Egerton all putting in outstanding performances. Appeals for a penalty when Dyer went down were waved away before Matlock made a double change, bringing on Cesaire Lingouba and Osebi Abadaki for Spencer Harris and Chippendale.
Tom Ward headed too high from a quickly taken free kick before Abadaki broke at pace into the danger area but after rounding Budtz, Ryan Holland was back swiftly to prevent further harm for the hosts.
Whitehead appeared for the closing minutes after fifteen months out before in stoppage time there was a desperate scramble deep in the visiting penalty box but Matlock fans breathed again when Rowley nonchalantly collected the ball and the Gladiators were home and dry.
GRANTHAM TOWN: 1 Jan Budtz 2 Ben Middleton 3 Ben Turner 4 James Berrett 5 Tom Ward 6 Ryan Holland 7 Nathan Dyer 8 Brad Abbott 9 Ashley Worsfold 10 Alistair Taylor(15 Liam Hardy 83) 11 Jack Stobbs Other subs: 12 Remaye Campbell 14 Niall Doran 16 Michael Hollingsworth 17 Will Biggs
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Jake Hull 3 Reece Kendall 4 Sam Egerton 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Spencer Harris (14 Cesaire Lingouba 67) 9 Joe Bunney (12 Nathan Whitehead 87) 10 Callum Chippendale (16 Osabi Abadaki 67) 11 Declan Walker Other subs: 15 Callum Dolan 17 Paul Phillips.
REFEREE: Scott Mason (Sutton-in-Ashfield).
BEST GLADIATOR: Jake Hull.