Matlock Town keep play-off hopes alive
Matlock secured the win they needed to stay in the play off hunt, the result pushing the Royals back into the relegation zone.
The win was a little more comfortable than the scoreline suggests with Sutton scoring their second goal deep into stoppage time at the end.
Goals from top scorer Marcus Dinanga, Dwayne Wiley and Marc Newsham delighted the travelling support, Sutton having cancelled out Dinanga’s strike through Ryan Robbins before substitute Pa Njie’s late consolation.
Matlock’s win was all the more impressive bearing in mind league champions Blyth Spartans and high riding SpennymoorTown and Stourbridge had all been beaten on the artificial Coles Lane surface this season.
The Gladiators simply could not afford to suffer the same fate and were boosted by a 9th minute goal from Dinanga.
The impressive Michael Williams’ excellent crossfield pass released Ted Cribley on the left who looped in a cross for Dinanga to nod home from close range at the far post, his 33rd goal of the season.
Williams then had a fee kick blocked after Nathaniel Kelly had stood on Joe Doyle-Charles and handled the ball before Newsham came close in the 14th minute, his superb glancing header from a Williams cross dropping narrowly wide with goalkeeper James Wren beaten.
Then a Newsham pass was a touch too strong for Dinanga before the hosts at last retaliated.
It took 21 minutes for Sutton to have a strike at goal and even then it was an ambitious thirty five yard free kick which Josh Venney skied over the bar. From another free kick out on the left seven minutes afterwards, Nathaniel Kelly thought he had levelled when he headed past Phil Barnes but the offside flag brought a premature end to the hosts’ celebrations.
But Robbins would have better luck just before the half hour when Max Wright charged down a Liam Marsden clearance, the Sutton skipper taking full advantage as he bore down on Barnes to slip a neat finish into the net.
Now it was a more even contest with Robbins heading too high for the hosts and George Cleet doing well to cut out a Doyle-Charles cross with Niall McManus waiting to pounce.
Crucially though Matlock regained the lead with the last kick of the half. Cribley took a throw quickly on the left to find Williams whose low centre was swept home with aplomb by Wiley fom 12 yards.
It was nearly three two minutes after the restart, Cribley’s shot deflecting off Wren’s legs for an unproductive corner. Sutton responded as Barnes turned aside a long range strike from Cleet, both sides trading blows to get the all important fourth goal of the contest.
Fine skill from Cribley put Dinanga clear only for the Burton loanee to fire wildly over the bar.
At the other end Adam Yates was playing a rue captain’s role,leading by example, and he saved Matlock by heading an Ashley Vincent shot off the line with Barnes beaten.
Sutton then had a similar escape, Williams being denied the goal he deserved as Nathan Fox was ideally placed on the line to nod the shot to safety.
But the Gladiators struck the killer blow in the 69th minute when Yates met a corner at the far post to clip the ball back into the centre for Newsham to ram home from a couple of yards.
The fight understandably drained from the hosts who should have conceded again late on when substitute Curtis Morrison shot too high, a controlled pass would have given fellow substitute Andy Wright an easy finish.
A long range daisy cutter from Njie gave the Royals late and false hope but Matlock had done enough and at least enter the final week with a chance, albeit a slim one, of making the top five. For Sutton it was a big blow, especially with fellow strugglers Corby securing a late win at Stafford.
SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN: 1 James Wren 2 Mathias Curley 3 Nathan Fox 4 Nathan Rooney 5 George Cleet 6 Nataniel Kelly 7 Max Wright 8 Aaron Birch 9 Ryan Robbins (14 Montel Gibson 74) 10 Josh Venney (15 David Howarth 59) 11 Ashley Vincent (16 Pa Njie 74).
Other subs: 12 James Beresford 17 Reece Webb
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Rhys Sharpe 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus (15 Andy Wright 88) 8 Michael Williams 9 Marc Newsham (16 Curtis Morrison 74) 10 Marcus Dinanga (14 Jamie Yates 86) 11 Ted Cribley.
Other subs: 12 Cleveland Taylor 17 Nico Degirolamo
REFEREE: Sarah Garratt (Halesowen).
BEST GLADIATOR: Michael Williams.