Matlock Town Reserves Defend Their DCFA Divisional Cup North Title

Gladiators Battle To Victory

Derbyshire FA
Matlock Town Reserves lifted the DCFA Divisional Cup North trophy for the second season in a row
The DCFA Divisional Cup North trophy displayed on the pitch at Matlock Town FC
DCFA Divisional Cup North 2017-18 Final [Highlights]
Matlock Town Reserves vs Furness Vale | Highlights courtesy of In-Play Sports

Match Photographer: James Williamson
Match Highlights Courtesy of In-Play Sports
Match Report by Jamie Griffiths

Matlock Town Reserves battled their way to another DCFA Divisional Cup North trophy, beating Furness Vale 3-2 in a thrilling encounter, that quite simply took your breath away.

If you was late to this Final, you may well have missed the most scintillating 12 minutes of football you're likely to see. Four goals within the opening exchanges of the game left 217 supporters on the edge of their seats in a game that did not disappoint in front of the cameras.

The first goal of the game came from the first meaningful attack. Matlock worked the ball down the right hand side and crossed into the box, causing a scramble. Jordan Wells managed to get the telling touch though to take the lead.

That lead only lasted two minutes however as Furness Vale equalised through Ben Higgingbottom, who got on the end of a lofted pass into the box and side footed it past the 'keeper.

Matlock immediately regained the lead, albeit in controversial circumstances. After another cross from the right caused havoc in the box, Billy Whitehead turned the ball towards goal but it was hacked away by a defender near the line, however the referee blew and signaled that it had crossed the line before the defenders intervention.

And just when you thought things would calm down Matlock grabbed the all important third two minutes later. Wells was picked out unmarked on the left hand side and drove the ball into the box, before calmly placing it into the bottom right hand corner, past the advancing Jack Barlow.

After a fairly quiet period in the game, Matlock came close to adding a fourth before half time. First Moussa Diouf's header from Harry Wood's right wing cross was nodded just wide of the post, before Whitehead was denied by the woodwork after getting inside the box and curling an effort over the 'keeper only for it to clip the bar.

Vale nearly pulled one back before the break but Patrick O'Brien put an effort just wide of the left hand post after receiving the ball on the edge of the box.

Half Time: Matlock Town Reserves 3 Furness Vale 1

There was no whirlwind start to the second half, like there was in the first, but it did contain plenty of opportunities.

Matlock's Diouf had another chance just a few minutes into the second half but directed his header over the bar from an in-swinging free kick from the right.

They were then denied by the boot of Barlow when Whitehead jinked his way past a couple of defenders, when it looked certain to be a goal.

The Gladiators made their first change of the night after 55 minutes, as Matthew Coleman replaced Moussa Diouf.

Matlock continued to search to restore their two goal advantage but yet again Barlow denied them, pouncing on a loose ball after getting a strong hand to Whitehead's curling free kick from the edge of the box.

Vale then made their first substitution after the hour mark, bringing on Simon Lomas for Ryan Hulme. Two minutes later, they had pulled a goal back.

Mike Jodrell received the ball in the box on the left and saw his first shot saved, but he pounced on the rebound to side foot into the back of the net to cause a tense finish to the game.

A second change for Vale proceeded the goal with Jake Burton replacing Peter Henshall.

The game became scrappy but Matlock, determined to secure another cup win, looked dangerous in the final third. 

Zak Brunt tried his luck from a free kick, left of centre, 25 yards out, but sent it just over the bar before Barlow parried another effort away when he was tested from distance.

Ethan Knowles came close to adding his name to the scoresheet but his side footed effort from inside the box was directed wide.

Both sides looked to shake things up with changes in the final five minutes of normal time, Matlock taking off Massai Dearlove for Jake Gascoigne and Furness Vale replacing Nick Wood with Chris Williamson.

With the clock ticking, Vale's Barlow pulled off another strong save to deny Matlock a two goal cushion, getting a strong hand to deflect the ball out from a corner when Whitehead bore down on goal.

Four minutes of added time was shown by the fourth official but Vale just couldn't break down a resolute Matlock defence, even when they threw the goalkeeper up for a free kick in the dying moments of the game.

The full time whistle blew and the crowd went wild as a young Matlock Town Reserves side lifted the DCFA Divisional Cup North for the second season in the row.

Full Time: Matlock Town Reserves 3 Furness Vale 2

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