Report: Matlock Town 3-1 King’s Lynn Town

Danny Holland nodded in the second goal against the Linnets on Saturday.
Danny Holland nodded in the second goal against the Linnets on Saturday.

Matlock completed the great escape in style, this comfortable and fully-deserved victory seeing them win their relegation battle with a game to spare.

This, quite, simply, did not look possible in the dark days of early January but the acquisition of Mark Hume as manager looks to have been a master stroke by Gladiators officials.

Hume always maintained Matlock could survive, and his confidence has been repaid by the shrewd signings he has made that make the Gladiators look like a team again and not a bunch of individuals thrown together in hope more than expectation.

Lynn began the day still not certain of their Premier Division status, having a one point advantage over Matlock, and they made a positive start as Henry Eze headed wide from a corner early on.

But Matlock took the lead on 11 minutes when Ted Cribley, highly influential throughout. floated in a free kick from the right and Julian Banton flung himself at the ball to power a tremendous header beyond Linnets stopper Alex Street.

There was nearly more trouble for the Norfolk side soon afterwards as Niall McManus broke down the left and Street did well to cut out the cross bound for Danny Holland. Then Jamie McDonagh latched on to a fine Cribley pass but fired wide.

Then came the shock of a Lynn equaliser on 21 minutes with Matlock only having themselves to blame in allowing an unmarked Lee Stevenson too much space from a corner and the loanee from Alfreton Town drove home.

But Matlock’s response was positive and a brittle Lynn defence was opened up quite brilliantly as Matlock regained their lead with a deliciously worked goal on 33 minutes. Cribley was again the instigator, finding McDonagh with a peach of a pass down the right. McDonagh kept his head to clinically find Holland whose flick goalwards was helped over the line by a defender, but the Town skipper would be claiming his 103rd Matlock goal.

Adam Yates headed wide from a corner as Matlock maintained the pressure sand McDonagh broke through down the inside right channel as the interval approached but fired over as Street came out to meet him.

It would be eight minutes into the second-half when the destination of the points was virtually decided.

Again it came from a break down the right and this time it was Micky Harcourt crossing with pin point accuracy for McDonagh to head towards goal and McManus to help into the net.

Banton and Holland could have added to Lynn’s misery, the defender heading wide from a corner and Holland shooting powerfully inches past the post after a neat, controlled build up, again from the right.

There was a potential lifeline for the Linnets when Jake Jones was brought down by the trailing leg of Yates but Stevenson’s 78th minute penalty was awful. It was still rising as it rebounded off the stand behind the Town End goal and the destiny of the points was secured.

Saturday, April 18, 2015:

Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Oscar Radford 4 Liam Needham 5 Adam Yates 6 Julian Banton 7 Ted Cribley 8 Nicky Travis 9 Jamie McDonagh 10 Danny Holland (Muhammed Sabo 75) 11 Niall McManus. Subs not used: Scott Maxfield, Grant Black, Josh Meade, Liam Gaughan

King’s Lynn: 1 Alex Street 2 Ross Watson 3 Jordan Yong 4 Ryan Fryatt 5 Henry Eze (Jackson Ramm 46) 6 Conor Marshall 7 David Bell 8 Dan Quigley (Michael Frew 80) 9 Sam Mulready (Jacek Zielonka 63) 10 Lee Stevenson 11 Jake Jones. Subs not used: Stephen Spriggs, Shaun Stocker

Att: 321 Ref: Nick Hobbis (Birmingham)

Star Gladiator: Ted Cribley