Matlock Town lift the Caroline Melbourne Memorial Cup
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Matlock Town retained the Caroline Melbourne Memorial Cup for another year as the Nailers were defeated on penalties after the game ended all square after 90 minutes, writes Nigel Oldrini.
Picture: Skipper Alex Peterson scoring from close range (Credit to Tim Harrison).
It was an entertaining encounter with little to choose between the two teams and now both clubs do it for real next Saturday when their respective League seasons start in earnest.
Belper manager Grant Black brought in additional players as he tries to find a winning formula, and the towering Danny South looks favourite to start in defence next week.
Craig Nelthorpe, Tyler Johal and George Milner were the other fresh faces on show and only time will tell if they have done enough to impress the manager.
With sponsorship key to the Nailers’ future last Saturday saw a change to the stadium name and it will be known as the Silver X Stadium from now on.
Belper had an early chance to open the scoring when after just 5 minutes when Craig Nelthorpe’s free kick was headed back into the six yard area by Danny South, and Rikki Paylor flicked the ball over the cross bar.
George Milner had a shot charged down shortly afterwards as Belper maintained their bright start, however former Nailer Jamie Jackson hit a ground shot in the 14th minute that Max Beardmore dealt with comfortably.
It was Jackson who provided the opening goal for Matlock on 17 minutes after being released with a long pass from midfield, and after keeping possession as he ran into the penalty area his goal bound effort took a slight deflection and went in off the far post.
Piteu Cruez nearly hit back with a powerful shot from outside of the penalty area which Richard Walton saved well at full stretch, then Marcus Marshall went close for the Gladiators with a header from a corner kick that flew just over the bar.
The Nailers levelled the scores on 29 minutes when Alex Peterson turned in a Piteu Cruez cross from close in, however Jackson nearly restored Matlock’s lead with a well placed effort that Max Beardmore saved at full stretch.
Shaun Harrad tested Beardmore once more in the 36th minute with a powerful header from a corner kick, and again Beardmore was equal to it.
The Gladiators made a strong start to the second period, but nearly paid for a mistake made by Richard Walton whose poor clearance made a present of the ball to Cruez, however the Belper striker couldn’t take advantage and sent his shot straight at the relieved ‘keeper.
A series of niggly fouls was a precursor to an ugly incident on 57 minutes when the referee saw fit to send off Matlock’s Michael Williams and Belper’s Danny South after an alleged head butting incident, and as a result the game never really got going again after this.
Jamie Jackson made space for a shot on 69 minutes that Beardmore dealt with comfortably, then Nathan Curtis put a header just wide for Belper minutes later.
A penalty competition was required to determine who would win the Cup and the Gladiator’s keeper Richard Walton gave his side a great start by saving well struck spot kicks from Alex Peterson and Nathan Curtis.
And despite Jake Sturgess and Marcus Day converting theirs, Matlock’s Luke Hinsley, Adam Yates, Alex Hirst and Jack Brownell all scored to give the Gladiators victory, and as a result they retain the Caroline Melbourne Memorial Cup until it is contested once again next year.
Belper Town. Beardmore, Ellam (Elliott 72), Johal, Paylor, South, Gordon, Sturgess, Nelthorpe (Curtis 75), Peterson, Milner (Francis 72), Cruez (Day 75). Unused subs: Haig, Moody, Esmaely, Garnett.
Matlock Town: Walton, Phillips, Green, Vince, Wiley, Yates, Williams, Marshall, Harrad, Chapple, Jackson. Subs: Nash, Dawes, Smith, Yeomans, Danquah, Hinsley.
Referee: Martin Beard