Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Monday, April 25, 2011
Josh Wilde 23
Matlock Town 3
Ross Hannah 20, 89, 90
Matlock Town: Nick Buxton, Ben Turner, Lee Featherstone, Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Kris Bowler, Gareth Davies, James Knowles (Steve Warne 64) Ross Hannaah ( Nathan Joynes 90+3), Ryan Mallon. Other subs: John McAliskey, Paul Sykes, Kris Witcombe
Referee: A Wood – Mansfield
Star Man: Ross Hannah
Ross Hannah was the talk of Buxton, Matlock and beyond as he smashed the Gladiators’ record for goals scored in a season, and at the same time shattered the Bucks’ play-off hopes.
Buxton needed to better North Ferriby United’s result at Frickley and possibly overturn a six-goal deficit. But that never looked on as Hannah plundered a fantastic hat-trick to take his tally to an amazing 52.
Bobby Mountain hit 49 goals in the 1982-83 campaign, but Hannah has surpassed this to become a legend in Gladiator fans’ eyes. As Hannah pointed out afterwards, it was a hat-trick that had everything. One goal with his right foot, one with his left, with a header in the middle.
Nobody could deny him his delight, nor his confidence as he spoke afterwards, but as always, his humility meant he had time to praise his teammates.
“I’m ever so happy – it’s a fantastic achievement,” Hannah admitted. “I’d have been pleased to equal last season’s total but to get 52 is absolutely amazing. It’d have been nice to get the record in front of the home crowd last Saturday, but to get it here, on the ground of your local rivals is definitely more satisfying. I couldn’t have achieved this without the rest of the lads and the support of the fans has been brilliant, so all in all I’m on top of the world.”
Only time will tell if Hannah is wearing a Matlock shirt next season. But if this was his farewell appearance, he certainly made it one to remember, both for himself and his supportive family, and the Town fans.
More remarkable was that Matlock had to play the last third with just ten men following Kris Bowler’s 59th minute red card for foul and abusive language at referee Andrew Wood.
Buxton looked to establish an early lead. The Bucks’ record marksman Mark Reed hooked over the bar after Nick Buxton had palmed out a high looping cross. Then Buxton miraculously kept out another effort from Reed.
Bucks midfielder Michael Towey headed a free kick against the bar but almost immediately Matlock broke to take a 20th minute lead.
Hannah’s probing run ended with a cleverly steered shot under goalkeeper Scott Hartley to reach his record-breaking half century of goals.
But within three minutes Buxton were level. Grant Black looked to shove Lee Featherstone aside to cross low and coming in from deep was Josh Wilde and the full back clinically slotted home.
The interval looked to have arrived at a good time for Matlock who began the second half the better of the two sides.
After Bowler’s sending off Matlock brought on Steve Warne for Knowles and played better than they had done with 11 players.
Buxton were becoming increasingly desperate and Matlock skilfully exploited the gaps.
Gareth Davies beat a series of defenders in a mazy run only to be denied by a brilliant Hartley save, but the corner which followed resulted in Matlock going back in front after 89 minutes.
Ryan Mallon returned an overhit Davies delivery and Hannah headed powerfully home.
Then in stoppage time, Town broke at pace down the slope.
Featherstone found Hannah who gleefully fired into an open net to ensure Matlock’s season finished on a high after six weeks of under achievement and disappointment.