Matlock battled through to the Derbyshire Senior Cup final and a date with Gresley FC in an over-physical and sometimes nasty contest at Surrey Street on Tuesday night.
The Gladiators looked to be cruising at the interval as they held a two-goal lead thanks to quick-fire strikes from Jamie McDonagh and Niall McManus in the opening period.
But Matlock lost their way somewhat after the break and a spectacular Kieran Lugsden shot halved the deficit on 65 minutes as the visitors’ earlier fluency disappeared.
Glossop, second in the NWCL and through to an FA Vase quarter-final at Shaw Lane Aquaforce this weekend, made a promising start but Town quickly responded when McManus found Corey Gregory who turned neatly ten yards out but shot into goalkeeper Liam Higginbotham’s arms.
McDonagh, showing plenty of pace, set up another chance for Gregory on 17 minutes but again the finish was straight at Higginbotham.
Eddie Moran’s low cross from the left caused a brief scramble in the Matlock box and as Matlock broke away, Lee Blackshaw fouled Ted Cribley and then kicked the Gladiators midfielder in an act of petulance. He escaped any form of punishment.
Matlock took the lead from the spot on 33 minutes as Danny White tripped McDonagh as he cut in from the right, the official pointing to the spot with McDonagh dusting himself down to confidently fire home the penalty.
Glossop had scarcely recovered from that setback before they conceded again, the excellent Cribley delivering a precision pass through the heart of the North End back four for McManus to drive home with comfort.
Home skipper Dave Young then dragged McDonagh back having been beaten for pace t again referee Jim Thornhill’s leniency came to the fore.
Julian Banton replaced Muhammed Sabo for the second-half but Matlock now looked disjointed and Glossop sensed they might just have a chance of saving the game.
Cribley, nursing an injury, was withdrawn for Mickey Harcourt before within a minute came Glossop’s goal of hope. If it was intended it was a fabulous strike from Lugsden whose 30-yard blast from the left curled past Kennedy’s despairing dive to his left and just inside a post.
Now it was game on with Matlock clinging grimly to their now slender advantage.
Late on, McDonagh was clattered into from behind by Michael Bowler causing a melee involving a host of opposing players, although McDonagh was the only player booked following his reaction to an apparent kick whilst he was on the ground.
Blackshaw forced Kennedy into a good save from his 20-yarder as the match entered its final five minutes, but Matlock recovered their composure in the dying embers, sensibly retaining possession near to the corner flags and creating another chance, McDonagh crowded out as he weaved along the byline.
But Matlock held firm to make it five wins in a row in all competitions and secure their final berth.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 :
Glossop: 1 Liam Higginbotham 2 Michael Bowler 3 Matt Russell 4 Kelvin Lugsden 5 Dave Young 6 Danny White (Jason Carey 43) 7 Lee Blackshaw 8 Sam Grimshaw (Kieran Lugsden 27) 9 Tom Bailey 10 Ben Richardson 11 Eddie Moran. Subs not used: Martin Parker, Danny Browne, Ben Halfacre
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Grant Black 3 Oscar Radford 4 Josh Meade 5 Muhammed Sabo (Julian Banton 46) 6 Adam Yates 7 Ted Cribley (Micky Harcourt 64) 8 Scott Maxfield 9 Jamie McDonagh 10 Corey Gregory (Mark Hume 90) 11 Niall McManus.
Ref: J Thornhill (Ilkeston)
Star Gladiator: Jamie McDonagh