Matlock Town 1-3 Blyth Spartans
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Saturday 15th September
A late comeback from Spartans saw them stretch their unbeaten run to five games as an Ash Davis brace and another goal from Craig Farrell was enough to finally take three points from a ten man Matlock side. Former Whitby Town front man Davis came off the bench and his two instinctive finishes were the catalyst for another win for Tommy Cassidy’s men. A fairground provided the back drop to the game and if the first half was to be a House of Horrors for Spartans, the second half would be enthralling roller-coaster stuff and Davis would be Matlock’s Nemisis.
It was Spartans who had the first chance on eight minutes when a Farrell cross found Robbie Dale on the angle of the box and his right foot curler was deflected into the path of Lee Mason who fired into the side netting under heavy pressure from Town full back Roe. The home side would take the lead on eleven minutes and it was a goal of the highest calibre. As Spartans failed to clear a cross it ran to former Sheffield Wednesday winger Matt Hamshaw, he cuts inside from the left and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top left hand corner of Conor Grant’s net. Hamshaw, who was making his debut for debut for Town, made an instant impact for the hosts. Spartans next chance came when Neal Hooks and Phil Airey played a good one two on the edge of the box but Amble born front man Airey fired his shot straight at Kennedy in the host’s goal.
A lull in the game followed but the home side were well on top without really testing Grant again until ten minutes before half time. It was that man Hamshaw again who was at the heart of their best work. Jordan Mellish did well to block a shot from the dangerous Kane Richards but the ball rolled out wide to Hamshaw who hit a volley narrowly wide of Grant’s near post. The last chance of the half came when Tuton was brought down on the edge of the Spartans area and Hamshaw’s curlling free kick was well saved by Grant. Spartans went in a goal down and would return for the second half with the words of Cassidy ringing in their ears.
A quiet start to the second half was blown wide open when Town defender Roe was sent off for a second bookable offence. He was booked in the first half for a dangerous tackle on Mason and was then booked for simulation when he knocked the ball past Mason and went to ground without any contact being made. That would change the game in Spartans favour. However there was a long pause in the game as the referee was forced off the pitch with a pulled thigh, meaning a linesman took over and a Matlock fan ran the line.
On eighty minutes Spartans were level and it was thanks to a lethal finish from substitute Davis. Jordan Mellish, who would later be named man of the match, found himself just inside the home side’s half. He dinked the ball into the box that just evaded Craig Farrell but Davis escaped the attentions of his marker Foster and crashed the ball home from around the penalty spot. That was Davis’ first competitive strike in a Spartans shirt and it wouldn’t be long before he had another, but not before Spartans had taken the lead. Just a minute after Davis’ goal, Tom Berj broke into the box and rolled the ball back to Sam Hodgson, his inch perfect cross found Dale at the far post and his knock down found Farrell who bundled in from close range. That was Farrell’s sixth goal of the season and the striker is now closing in on one hundred career goals. Today’s goal was his ninety second in total.
The game was now all about Spartans and they looked as if they would get the third goal and it would come on the brink of the full time whistle as Robbie Dale broke away from the half way line. He rolled the ball to Davis but his shot was well saved by former Gateshead keeper Kennedy in the home goal, the ball rolled to Shaun Utterson who saw another shot blocked and deflected back to Davis. He got his second goal of the game as he forced the ball past Kennedy, whose desperate attempt to prevent the ball going into the net would be fruitless and it was Spartans who would take all three points back to Northumberland with them.
Highlights of the game can be found here and are provided by Matlock Town’s MTFC video channel.
Spartans Man of the Match: Jordan Mellish
Matlock Town: Kennedy, Harcourt, Roe, M Foster, L Foster, Lukic, Richards, Yates, Tuton, McMahon, Hamshaw Subs: Ellington, Deakin, Featherstone, Dennis, Buxton
Blyth Spartans: Grant, Utterson, Kendrick, Hodgson, Buchanan, Mellish, Mason, Hooks, Dale, Farrell, Airey Subs: Vipond, Hunter, Berj, Davis Goalscorer: Davis 80 and 81, Farrell 76