With promotion in their hands, Matlock Sports of the Solar Press Division Two knew three points was a must at the weekend in the Matlock and District Football League.
But with a hard away fixture against Black Hippo, Matlock knew they had a real fight on their hands to come away with maximum points.
Both teams started slowly with Matlock failing to reach the heights of recent games but, after ten minutes of play, the game exploded into life when Matlock’s Ashley Stone set Steve Pardey free on the left and the striker’s cross teed up Callam Lytham, who turned his player and fired the ball home, giving Matlock a 1-0 lead.
On 30 minutes came goal number two for Lytham, again supplied by Pardey settling Matlock’s nerves. Still not at their best, Matlock took their eyes off the ball and, with some sloppy defending, were punished by Hippo’s Joe Taylor, who was the first to react and although his initial header was blocked by the keeper, he hit the ball into the top corner, making the score 2-1.
With two minutes left on the clock, Steve Pardey rubbed salt into Hippo’s wounds. Unmarked in the box, the goal king pounced from close range to give Matlock a 3-1 lead at the break.
Matlock were more potent after the restart with Steve Pardey’s menacing runs and crosses providing danger at every turn. After five minutes, Pardey added to Hippo’s misery and silenced the home supporters with another fine goal. Second half sub Matt Pratt made an instant impact when he put Hippo on the back foot with crisp movement and accurate passing, crossing to Ashley Stone who fired Malock into a 5-1 lead.
Game over? You would think so but Hippo had other ideas and, during a fantastic 20 minute fightback, Hippo’s Taylor, Suett and Sails all scored, making the score 5-4 with only four minutes left on the clock.
Surely Black Hippo couldn’t resue a point from this game, or could they? With the last kick of the game, and a foul in the box, the referee pointed to the spot for a Black Hippo penalty. Was this going to mark the comeback of all comebacks?
Hippo placed the ball on the spot and took a few steps back before hitting the ball with pure venom, only for it to come crashing back off the post to leave Matlock triumphant in their 5-4 win.
Hellison Trophies Division One action saw Chesterfield Town slot into second place in the league following a hard fought 2-0 home win against Laburnum Saints.
With the score 0-0 at half-time, Chesterfield changed things around and stepped up a couple of gears to dominate for long periods of the second half.
Their hard work paid off when defender Garry Cambers scored his first ever goal for the club with a pure classic quick shoe-shuffle shot which would make most strikers jealous.
From the moment Ash Walters headed home a Paul Milburn throw on 70 minutes, it was uphill all the way for Laburnum, who defended well, keeping the score at 2-0 but couldn’t score against a Chesterfield side, looking for their first title in the Matlock & District Football League.
Results: Hellison Trophies Division One: Shirland Miners Welfare 4 Woodthorpe Rovers 4, All Inn 2 Shirebrook Rangers 1, Hopflower 6 Darley Dale 0.
Solar Press Division Two: AFC Lea Holloway 2 Chesterfield Town Res 3, Cromford 2 Codnor Miners Arms 6, Wirksworth Albion 1 Hurst Farm Utd 1; Matlock Cup Semi-Final: AFC South Wingfield 2 Riddings Rovers 4
Fixtures for Saturday, March 17: Hellison Trophies Division One: Woodthorpe Rovers v Shirebrook Rangers, Hopflower v Miners Arms (Alfreton), Laburnum Saints v Darley Dale.
Solar Press Division Two: Cromford v Matlock Sports, Tansley v Hurst Farm Utd, AFC Lea Holloway v Codnor Miners Arms, Chesterfield Town Res v Riddings Rovers, Wirksworth Albion v Black Hippo.
Manor Pharmacy Shield Semi-Final: All Inn v Chesterfield Town