30.11.2011

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Matlock Town

King (89)

Hednesford Town

Osborne (45), Clements (70) (penalty)

(0) 1

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

314

Cheyenne Dunkley

L W W D L W W W L W

Ashton United (H) 3.12.11

After Saturday's horror show at Stocksbridge, the Pitmen got back on track by beating bogey team Matlock tonight at Causeway Lane, moving them within a point of league leaders Chester and Northwich Victoria in the process

With Nick Wellecomme starting a four-match suspension, manager Rob Smith was forced to shuffle his pack. Marvin Robinson, sent off at the weekend, started in place of Gary Hay, who pulled out with illness before the game. The big striker started the game up front on his own, with Elliott Durrell playing just off him. On the bench, Danny Quinn was named amongst the substitutes after he was recalled from his loan period at Coalville Town

The two clubs had crossed paths as recently as two weeks ago, with the Gladiators beating the Pitmen in the F.A. Trophy after a replay. With this being their fourth meeting already this term, both sides were acutely aware of the other's strengths and weaknesses

Durrell's deep role almost saw the playmaker open the scoring after five minutes, as the number ten picked the ball up and lined up a shot, but failed to test Jon Kennedy in the Matlock goal with a wayward effort

Cheyenne Dunkley, whose form in recent weeks has been something like his dominant early season form, was on hand to make a superb saving tackle to deny former Stafford Rangers striker Danny Davidson a clear run on goal

Davidson should have done better from a Matlock corner on ten minutes, heading just wide of the far post after getting up above three Hednesford defenders from close range

Big man Robinson tested Kennedy's ability on thirteen minutes, racing clear of the Matlock defence but allowing the Matlock number one to smother the ball before he could get his shot away

Matlock thought they should have had a penalty on sixteen minutes, as Liam King got on the end of Davidson's flick-on and burst into the penalty area. Dunkley and King had a coming together just inside the area, with King seemingly going down a little too easily for the referee, who waved play on

Two minutes later, Jay Denny should have done a lot better after Robinson had played the ball into his feet twelve yards out. The midfielder suffered a rush of blood and skied his shot way over the bar when he should have tested Kennedy at the very least

Kennedy was called into action midway through the half, making a save low down to deny Jamey Osborne as he looked to bend a shot into the far corner of the net

The Pitmen were enjoying the better of the chances but continued to be wasteful in front of goal. Pedro Monteiro missed his kick at the crucial moment after beating his marker to a lofted Chris Clements free kick on twenty-eight minutes

Ten minutes later, Chris Shaw was guilty of a glaring miss, as the stocky left-back somehow managed to head over the crossbar when presented with a great chance from Clements' corner

Robinson's wretched night in front of goal was summed up on forty minutes - his wild shot from twelve yards out cleared the crossbar and ended up flying over the fence behind the goal

Just as it looked as though the sides would be going in for the half time break all square, a Darren Campion corner kick found Osborne lurking in the six-yard box, with the young midfielder getting enough on the ball to bundle it home at the near post

Matlock's expected backlash in the second half suffered a huge interruption, as ten minutes after the restart a huge power cut hit the town, shrouding the ground and the local area into darkness. After over ten minutes of false starts, with lights coming on and going off intermittently, the floodlights finally crackled back into life and the players emerged from an unexpected break to carry on with the game, which was now nearly twenty minutes over time

This break helped to settle the Pitmen, and Durrell's acrobatic shot from a Clements free-kick almost put the Pitmen in the clear; his effort, however, was just the wrong side of the post

Durrell was guilty of another poor miss on sixty-four minutes, dragging his low shot well wide after being set up by Robinson on the edge of the area

The Pitmen did eventually double their advantage on seventy minutes, as Durrell's chip across goal towards Robinson was handled by Matlock's Kris Whitcombe. The referee immediately awarded a penalty to the visitors, and in the process sent off Gladiators substitute Lee Featherstone for arguing the toss

Clements stepped up to fire confidently past Kennedy and score his eleventh goal of the current season - an impressive return with the season yet to reach December yet

Osborne was booked for a late challenge on seventy-seven minutes, and rather than risk yet another suspension to his already depleted squad, Smith decided to replace Osborne with another youth team graduate, Lewis Suckling

Matlock continued to push in the final ten minutes, with King coming close to reducing the deadlock with a looping long-range effort that beat Crane but came back off the post

By this point, Durrell and been replaced by Mark Danks and Ben Jevons coming on for goalscorer Clements. In the final minute, another long-range effort from King, not unlike his previous effort, looped over the head of Crane and this time found the back of the net

There was precious little time for the hosts to push for an equaliser, meaning the Pitmen beat Matlock for the first time in four attempts this term and keep pace with the early pace-setters at the top of the table in the form of Chester and Northwich. Saturday brings another tough encounter as the Pitmen host long-time Northern Premier League stalwarts Ashton United, currently struggling for form in seventeenth place in the table

Matlock Town: Kennedy, Witcombe (Joynes 83), Bowler (Featherstone 61 (70)), King, Yates, Lukic © , Bettney, Warne, Davidson , Morris (Nightingale 75), Algar ▆       Subs Unused: Buxton

Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes , Shaw , Monteiro, Dunkley, Denny, Osborne  (Suckling 78), Clements, (Jevons 90), Robinson, Durrell (Danks 83), Campion ©       Subs Unused: Quinn, Bailey