The Matlock Fan: Final will be intriguing

As WWE commentator Jim Ross once said: “Business is about to pick up,” and that could be very true about Matlock Town as the Gladiators seem to have hit a little run of form with a win against Kendal Town and a draw against Derbyshire Senior Cup final opponents Ilkeston FC.

We went into Tuesday’s game against Kendal Town knowing defeat would relegate the Mintcakes and to the delight of the crowd Matlock showed no mercy with a perfect one-on-one finish from Massiah McDonald followed by a piledriver from the edge of the area by Martin Foster and then grasscutter by Ben Algar all within the space of ten minutes.

It felt like we had been served a feast of goals and skill, with some neat short passing football in triangles and spreading the play across the pitch as if it was butter on bread. But to my despair the second-half would be a rather dull affair with a sense of job done feeling.

After the game conversations and thoughts between fans had turned to the cup final but like any grand performance there needs to be a dress rehearsal and the fixtures served as a tasty treat as we got a preview of what could be.

Both teams battled on Saturday in a game that both sets of players and fans deserve great applause for as it epitomised what non-league football should be about.

Despite both managers picking weakened sides there was no shortage of entertainment as after 11 minutes Lewis McMahon’s over the shoulder volley that any striker would be proud of, and that was how it would stay despite a fair amount of goalmouth action up until the 89th minute.

That was when Ilkeston would net a deserved goal leaving the final poised on a knife-edge and after such a tight affair there was no telling who could be standing on the podium with cup glory and who would be slumped on the pitch thinking what could’ve been.

by James Griffiths