Official Site report:
A desperately disappointing defeat saw Hednesford Town make it a wretched Easter Weekend for their play-off push; only a miracle will see them end the regular season in the top five.
For the second time in three days Hednesford failed to score against a side struggling with relegation; even more disappointingly they were out ran and Matlock seemed to want it more. Much like 'The Pitmen' showed against Nantwich, Matlock covered every single blade of grass, harassed every player and chased every dead cause; Hednesford just couldn't or didn't want to compete.
Despite the poor final result the away side started the better with Durrell volleying over from distance on two minutes and, after taking on and beating two defenders Maguire created a great chance for Ross Dyer; unfortunately the Matlock keeper was equal to it and saved very well.
Unfortunately for the eighty-odd Hednesford fans who had made the trip up to the Derbyshire Dales on their Bank Holiday Monday off Dyer's chance was just about the best it got.
On twelve minutes a long ball caught the usually unflappable Decio Gomes out and Danny Davidson flicked the ball into the path of Ross Hannah who saw Brock off his line and easily lobbed the ball over the stranded goalkeeper. Matlock had opened the scoring and Hednesford's mountain to climb was almost as high as the imposing hill and castle looking down over the quaint little ground in Derbyshire.
The game could well have been tied up within seventeen minutes when Davidson broke a non-existent offside trap and, with the Hednesford defence standing with arms held aloft like clothes on a washing line, Brock had to make a point blank save to keep the score down to one-nil. From the resulting corner 'The Pitmen' had still not recovered from the early goal and Davidson should have scored with a free header.
The much maligned Tom Marshall was enduring the wrath of the frustrated away supporters and he perhaps summed up Hednesford's poor performance when a free kick was given thirty yards out Marshall attempted to take it quickly but only succeeded in ballooning the ball over the bar and onto the cricket pitch behind the goal.
The Hednesford centre midfield was being overrun by an exuberant and purposeful Matlock outfit; Durrell and Sam Hall especially were simply crowded out whenever they found space. On twenty-seven minutes Durrell managed to escape the clutches of the home side with another high-quality run but he wasn't able to get hold of his shot and the ball trickled wide of the post.
With half an hour gone and sections of the Hednesford faithful cursing the performance at every opportunity Sam Hall played a free kick into the box and Barnett leaped like a salmon to head the ball low to the goalkeeper's right. Paul Pettinger managed to get down low and executed a superb one handed save which prevented a certain goal for the beleaguered Pitmen.
The Hednesford midfield and wing-backs continued to struggle to get a hold of the ball let alone the game and on thirty-five minutes a neat turn by Hannah very nearly brought a second goal; luckily for Brock the striker sliced when very well placed on the edge of the area.
Tyrone Barnett shot over in first half stoppage time but as the players made their way back to the dressing rooms one could only imagine what thrown teacups and choice words awaited them from Dean Edwards and Matt Elliott.
Whatever was said at half time looked to have worked in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half as for a time it looked like Hednesford may claw back the goal deficit and delight the travelling hoards. A free kick and then a corner were cleared bravely by Matlock on fifty minutes and five minutes later Ludovic Quistin ventured down the left and crossed superbly for Draper. Unfortunately the captain was unable to connect properly with the ball at the back post and his header went harmlessly wide.
Draper had another headed opportunity two minutes later when a Hall cross was again misdirected by the young midfielder. Hednesford had begun to really push for an equaliser but this was to be their undoing when following a Quistin corner Matlock broke with pace and as the home fans roared them on Davidson was again thwarted by Brock in the Hednesford goal. The away defence had barely caught their breath when from the resulting corner Danny Wood crossed for Jamie Jackson to head home at the back post.
Faced with such passion and belief Hednesford had struggled to score one, yet alone two, in a game which following wins for both Bradford and Kendal earlier in the day, was now as big as any this season.
Dyer and Draper combined on sixty-five minutes following a raking ball forward from Hall but the midfield battler was once more off target with his shot. Matlock threatened to add a third goal when Decio was called upon to smartly defend a driven cross in front of his own goal after seventy minutes and, sixty seconds later, Hannah shot over when well placed following a header down by Foyle.
Dean Edward's tried in vain to save the game by bringing on Matt West and Luke Edwards to chase the two goals required but despite their introduction with nineteen minutes remaining neither were able to sufficiently threaten a stout Matlock defence.
Barnett combined with West on seventy-three minutes but his shot was never going in and a Marshall header at the back post following a curling Durrell cross was the closes 'The Pitmen' came to a goal.
A long stoppage ensued on eighty minutes and it was further bad news for the Pitmen when Decio Gomes fell awkwardly and had to be stretchered off with suspected knee ligament damage. During the stoppage the referee was also replaced by the linesman due to an injury.
Due to the injuries there was a great deal of stoppage time but as the final seconds ticked by and the Hednesford supporters were left to wish on what might have been. Matlock continued to press and chase and make sure a famous comeback would not be happening on a spring evening on the Dales.
The final whistle was greeted with joyous cheers from the home supporters and, sadly, isolated boos from 'The Pitmen' followers who were clearly unhappy with what they had seen. An inconsistent run of form at the wrong time has hit Dean Edwards' men hard since the New Year break. Many years from now this game will not be remembered as the day Hednesford blew their play-off hopes for the second year in succession; simply the day it was all but confirmed