GNE 3 Matlock Town 2
A late Adam Jones header sealed FA Trophy progress for the Hillmen in this thrilling all-Derbyshire tie, in which both sides held the ascendency for periods and produced entertainment that the atrocious playing conditions ought not to have allowed.
Match Report: Jonathan Haggart Photo:Steve Dyson
The mist and constant heavy drizzle that enveloped Glossop on Saturday never lifted, with the hills that usually form the background to a game at Surrey Street absent throughout. It meant that both sides had to find their feet as the game opened and it took until the 15th minute for a notable piece of actions, Matlock’s Michael Williams curling a shot that Paul Phillips tried to punch, only for the ball to skid off his gloves and behind for a corner.
On 23 minutes Kieron Wallace again tested Phillips with a low long shot, but within a minute GNE were in front. The keeper’s kick down field was flicked on by Dale Johnson and Jude Oyibo showed a cool head when collecting the ball behind the back four and clipping a finish past Phil Barnes.
With the wind behind them Matlock were using the breeze to put in some smart curly balls into the box to create confusion, but Glossop’s defence were at their most stout, throwing bodies on the line to block shots and clear the crosses away, and they went into half time with their lead intact.
Matlock were out warming up 5 minutes before half time ended, no doubt with a dressing room dressing down ringing in their ears and Phillips saved well in the opening minutes. However, Glossop might have doubled their lead when debutant Zeph Thomas launched a piledriver that Barnes saved. Johnson dived to head the rebound goalwards but the ball was cleared off the line.
The visitors upped their game though, sharper and playing with more vigour and they were level on 50 minutes when Shaun Harrad was given too much time at the edge of the area and he curled a lovely shot into the top corner.
Less than 10 minutes later, and under sustained pressure, GNE conceded a penalty when the ball struck Courtney Meppen-Walter’s outstretched arm. Harrad took it, and whilst Phillips saved to his right, the rebound fell kindly for the Matlock man to clip his side into the lead.
Phillips nearly suffered misfortune again minutes later as the pressure endured and this time the keeper had to be quick off his line to save at the feet of Tyrell Waite. The save ricocheted off a defender’s legs and was header into the net, only to be cleared off the line. At this point it was hard to see anything but Matlock extending their lead.
However GNE regathered and with 15 minutes to go Matthew Russell delivered a wicked cross from the right, between keeper and his back line. Johnson couldn’t quite reach it, neither could Ben Deegan, but Oyibo popped up at the back post to nod in from short range. Game on again!
Then with 5 minutes to go GNE won a free kick on the right hand side. Chris Baguley swung the ball into the box and Jones rose the highest to power the ball past Barnes and seal progress, to the delight of the majority of the 310 in attendance.