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REPORT: Shiners stun Gladiators to reach Derbyshire Senior Cup Final

Updated: Feb 20, 2020


Matlock Town were left to rue an extremely disappointing performance on Tuesday night as they were sensationally knocked out in the Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final by ninth tier South Normanton Athletic.


A howler from Jake Greatorex and some awful defending gifted the Shiners a shock 2-0 lead inside the first half. Despite pulling a goal back through Chib Chilaka, the Gladiators were toothless in attack and could not produce an equaliser in the second half.


The quality of play was pretty poor throughout the whole game and this certainly was not

helped by a pitch that only just passed a late pitch inspection after yet another day of heavy rain.


The Gladiators were given an early warning of what was to come when the Shiners came extremely close to taking the lead in the 6th minute when Jake Greatorex pulled off a smart save to deny a close range effort from a right wing delivery.


Matlock finally seemed to wake up midway through the first half. Chib Chilaka managed a header on target from ten yards out but was always struggling for balance and so could not get much conviction with the effort and resulted in an easy save.


In the 23rd minute, Marcus Marshall flashed a 15-yard effort just wide of the post after a mazy run into the penalty area. Piteu Crouz then almost scored a fortuitous goal for the Gladiators when Curtis Hall spilled an 18-yard effort from the Cameroonian winger onto the post before the ball bounced back into the goalkeeper’s grateful arms.


The encouragement that Matlock would be fine as soon as they found the first goal was soon shattered though in bizarre circumstances. A 35-yard cross-shot from Dominic Allen, hit in hope rather than with purpose, sailed towards Jake Greatorex in goal who was making only his second appearance for the Gladiators. Whilst it was true that the conditions weren’t great, there was still no excuse for Greatorex to not prevent the ball from sailing right over his head and into the back of the net. All that was required was a solid jump, even if just to punch the ball away rather than attempt to catch it, but the young keeper made a feeble effort to reach the ball and simply watched it go over his goal line to the complete disbelief of everyone in the stadium.


It was an absolute gift of a goal to give away and it soon got far worse. In the 34th minute, poor defending from Matlock’s back four easily allowed a through ball for in-form Richard Hanslow to reach and find himself with just the keeper to beat. Hanslow coolly converted the opportunity by striking the ball firmly to Greatorex’s right hand side and the ball nestled into the bottom corner. In the space of just five minutes, Matlock’s chances of reaching the Derbyshire Senior Cup final were now in jeopardy.


The Gladiators managed to halve the deficit five minutes before half-time when Chib Chilaka diverted a 20-yard effort from Spencer Harris into the back of the net. With the half-time score at 2-1, it looked like the Gladiators had at least woken up to the real possibility of being on the receiving end of a huge shock. Strangely though, despite having the vast majority of possession in the second half, Matlock’s finishing was woeful in the final 45 minutes and Paul Phillips was left very concerned that the Gladiators were simply unable to break down a ninth tier defence for an equaliser.


It was bitterly disappointing that the Gladiators only managed to force Curtis Hall into one save throughout the entirety of the second half. This arrived early on in the 50th minute when Nathan Valentine curled an effort in from 20-yards out which Hall did well to tip the ball around the post. There was a flurry of activity midway through the second half but Matlock’s finishing left a lot to be desired. Dwayne Wiley shot just over the bar from a great position inside the penalty area following a corner kick in the 62nd minute.


Two minutes later, Marcus Marshall had plenty of time to control his effort from 18-yards out but his effort blasted carelessly wide of the post. Just three minutes after that, Piteu Crouz rushed into a shot from 20 yards out which rolled harmlessly wide when he should have done better. The Shiners almost killed the game off immediately after that when Richard Hanslow broke away from the Matlock defence on a counter attack and had just Greatorex to beat but the young keeper made a good block to deny the striker.


In the 76th minute, a promising run from Marcus Marshall lead to a pass to Chib Chilaka inside the area nut the Nigerian striker completely wasted the opportunity and scooped his effort wide of the goal. Worryingly, the game petered out after that and Matlock almost seemed to completely run out of ideas.


After five minutes of more frustration in additional time, the referee blew the whistle for full-time and the South Normanton Athletic staff instinctively ran onto the pitch to embrace their players in joy after what could arguably be the club’s most famous win in their entire history.


The Matlock players were left to trudge off the sodden pitch knowing that a huge chance to reach a cup final at a Championship level stadium had been completely wasted. The club’s attention must now return to steering clear of the relegation zone in the league and to hopefully win the Integro League Cup with it being their last opportunity of lifting silverware for this season.


Matlock Town: Greatorex, Wilson (Goldthorp 54), Gordon (Scrivens 78), Dean, Wiley, Gooda, Harris, Valentine (Poole 64), Chilaka, Marshall, Crouz.


Unused Substitutes: Tague, Bramall.


Attendance: 254

 

Paul Phillips Quotes


“I don’t think it was disappointing tonight, I thought it was embarrassing…we had about 70-75% of possession, a number of chances to hit the target, not done that and they defended well. For a large scale of that game, we didn’t work hard enough. I thought we huffed and puffed…we were just absolutely miles off in the first half. I’ve learnt more from the two games playing against Worksop, lower opposition, and tonight, than I have done in the first two games against Hyde and Radcliffe. You find out from this who you want in your trenches and tonight one or two questions haven’t been answered by one or two players.


“It’s a massive concern. We must have had 10-12 chances to hit the target from in and around the box. Even the delivery into the boxes was poor. We should be beating teams like this. We had enough ammunition on the pitch. We didn’t work their keeper enough and it’s evident that we need people now coming into the club who will put the ball in the net. We don’t seem to have that ruthless streak.”

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