Coalville Battle to Victory Over Gladiators
The Ravens stood firm to defeat Matlock and hold onto a third win of the season
Coalville bounced back from Saturday's FA Cup disappointment at St Ives with a battling win over the Gladiators, making it three wins from their last four league games.
Brookbanks made two changes to the side that fell to a 1-0 defeat in Cambridgeshire in the FA cup, bringing in Nathan Watson and new signing Will Mellors-Blair in place of Alex Dean and Kyle Bryant.
Opponents Matlock were seeking to redeem themselves after also being eliminated from the oldest cup competition in world football. Losing 3-2 at the hands of Haughmond on Saturday.
After a scrappy, tight opening exchange, Blair Anderson opened the scoring after 11 minutes, twisting and turning inside the box after receiving a pass from Nathan Watson before lashing a low shot across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
Matlock almost found an equaliser minutes later but Matt Coton kept out Shaun Harrad's low effort with a strong right arm.
Another chance fell Harrad's way five minutes later as he smacked a shot wide from the edge of the area after bringing the ball down on his chest.
Moments later, Coalville broke with real pace and power following a Gladiators attack. The chance didn't result in a goal however as Massiah McDonald's shot deflected into the air and comfortably into the hands of Callum Hawkins.
Anderson continued to cause problems for the Gladiator's defence as he flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal, unfortunately no-one could connect.
Matlock then responded with a chance of their own, Rhys Sharpe scuffed a half volley wide after a pinpoint cross from Muhammed Zeyn Hakeem.
In the 33rd minute, Anderson again turned on the style as he fired in a low cross after some trickery in the box, this time the ball found it's way in, deflecting off Matlock's Adam Yates and into his own net to double the Ravens' advantage.
Coalville were firmly on top as the game approached half time, with Anderson blazing a half volley over before Watson scuffed his back post effort into the side netting.
But the Ravens failed to keep their momentum in the second period as the referee awarded a seemingly soft penalty in the 49th minute after Danny Jenno was adjudged to have brought down Harrad. The Matlock forward then brushed himself down before slotting his spot kick into the bottom left corner.
The visitors looked to push for a leveller after the goal, applying heavy pressure on the Ravens' rear guard. Coton came up with a big save on the hour mark, rushing out to deny Marc Newsham from close range.
Four minutes later, Coalville almost made it three as a scramble in the box resulted in Dan Creaney having his shot blocked by a combination of Hawkins and the away side's defence.
Coton was again on hand to make a vital save in the 70th minute, pawing away a sweetly struck first time effort from Sharpe.
The Ravens had to dig deep in the closing 10 minutes as the visitors piled forward in search of an equaliser, and Harrad almost found it in the 85th minute. The Gladiators striker struck a low shot towards the bottom left corner, but Coton stretched to keep it out.
Coalville then survived one last gasp chance, with Dwayne powering a header inches wide after 96 minutes.
The Ravens held out for the victory and will be hoping to do the same on Saturday when they travel to Marine, the next fixture at the Mander Cruickshank Stadium will be next Tuesday's clash with Hednesford Town.