Matlock Town’s long wait for a goal ended on Saturday in a 2-1 win at Hyde United.
After 530 minutes without a goal, the relief was huge when Luke Hinsley headed Matlock into a 34th-minute lead at Ewen Fields.
Although Nicky Platt equalised two minutes into the second half, Matlock also ended their winless run at the seventh time of asking when Craig Westcarr capped a fine performance by sliding in a 76th-minute winner.
Hyde’s task was made all the more difficult when top scorer Chib Chilaka was sent off three minutes later for a stray elbow on Dwayne Wiley, which left the Gladiators defender flat out on the artificial turf.
So after a few weeks of frustration it was all smiles in the Matlock camp as they swapped places in the table with Hyde, rising from 10th to eighth spot.
Gladiators boss Dave Frecklington admitted he had selected a bold attacking line up with three strikers in Westcarr, Hinsley and loan signing Jonny Margetts with two attacking wide men in Jordan Chapell and Craig King.
Nathan Whitehead was back in midfield, Greg Tempest switching to left back with Brad Beatson ill. Westcarr slotted in just behind Hinsley and Margetts and used his experience to the full, turning in an excellent performance as the link between midfield and attack.
But it was an altogether more convincing display from Matlock who had the better chances throughout although Hyde made the early running, using the pace of winger Luke Porritt on the left to good effect.
Chilaka turned to shoot too high after a right wing cross in the fourth-minute, Matlock replying almost instantly as Chappell, also a candidate for star rating, threaded a pass through to Margetts which saw Hyde goalkeeper Peter Crook swiftly off his line to intercept.
Crook pulled off a fine save from Chappell who had been found by Hinsley before Margetts shot too high.
Both Hinsley and Margetts were booked in quick succession for simulation and hand ball before Chapell had two more good attempts, firing at Crook and shooting narrowly over the bar. After Margetts tame effort at Crook, the pressure eventually told when from a partially cleared corner, Lee Beevers hoisted the ball back into the danger area and Hinsley leapt like a salmon to send a looping header over Crook.
Adam Yates headed a Westcarr centre into the sidenetting before Matlock had a let off when a Crossfield pass found Porritt, Durrant getting a hand to the winger’s low shot before Tempest was ideally placed to clear off the line.
Matlock would be punished though for their slow start to the second half when from the second of two quick corners on the left, Yates took a shot full in his face but from the ensuing scramble, Chilaka had a shot blocked only for Platt to have the simplest of tap ins from inside the six yard box.
Yates needed treatment as did Beevers soon afterwards after being fouled before Chilaka hooked a shot over the bar as the chances dried up.
Michael Hollingsworth replaced Margetts which saw Westcarr pushed further forward. Durrant saved well from a Ross Daly header but it was Matlock who finished the contest the stronger and Westcarr won them maximum points.
Beevers did well to retrieve possession from a Chapell pass to find Hinsley who scuffed a shot goalwards with Westcarr beating defender John McCombe to slide a low shot under Crook.
Substitute Jamie Jackson cut in to shoot into Crook’s hands as Matlock comfortably negotiated the remainder of the contest which included five minutes added time.
It was certainly more like the Matlock of October and November when they were the form team of the division.
HYDE UNITED: 1 Peter Crook 2 Dominic Smalley 3 Kyle Brownhill 4 Ross Daly 5 John McCombe 6 Jordan Fagboola 7 Grant Roberts (15 Paddy Lane 22) 8 Janni Lipka 9 Chib Chilaka 10 Nicky Platt (14 Oladapo Olarewaju 70) 11 Luke Porritt (17 Alex O’Connor 83) Other subs: 12 Kyle Harrison 16 Lewis Haydock
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Ross Durrant 2 Lee Beevers 3 Greg Tempest 4 Nathan Whitehead 5 Dwayne Wiley 6 Adam Yates 7 Jordan Chapell (16 Jamie Jackson 86) 8 Jonny Margetts (14 Michael Hollingsworth 68) 9 Craig Westcarr 10 Luke Hinsley( 12 Michael Williams 77) 11 Craig King Other subs: 15 Terry Fleming 17 Jordan Pierrepont
REFEREE: Danny Hitchell (Wirral) ATTENDANCE; 391 BEST GLADIATOR: Craig Westcarr.