Matlock Town 1 Stourbridge 1
The Glassboys had to settle for a point after Matlock grabbed a 92nd minute equaliser at Causeway Lane.
Karl Hawley's 65th minute goal looked as though it had earned the win for the Glassboys, but Jack Siddall clipped the ball past Matt Gould two minutes into added time to ensure that honours ended even,
Gary Hackett made two changes from the team that won at Mickleover on Saturday, with skipper Stuart Pierpoint returning after injury in place of Joe Hull, and Tom Tonks slotting in for Chris Lait after he picked up a knock in Saturday's match. The changes meant a slight tweak to the set-up of the team, with Leon Broadhurst moving out to the left flank.
Stourbridge looked sluggish in the opening ten minutes, and the home side could, probably should, have been ahead with just four minutes played. Matt Gould made a smart save low down at his near post from Joel Purkiss, who had only been drafted into the Gladiators' side after an injury to Nicky Travis in the warm-up, and from the resulting corner the ball was turned goalwards, only for Kristian Green to deny a goal with a last-ditch clearance.
In truth, that was as good as the first half got in terms of goal-mouth incident. Midway through, Niall McManus almost wriggled his way through the Glassboys' defence only to see his shot blocked, whilst Dan Scarr twice had headers from a Sean Geddes free kick and then a Tonks throw comfortably held by Matlock keeper George Willis.
Just past the half hour mark, Liam Needham was allowed time to advance on the Stourbridge penalty area before dragging his shot wide from 20 yards, and the home side ended the half with a minor flurry as first Purkis shot high and wide from the edge of the penalty area, and the Gould had to come out and clear with his head as Purkiss bore down on goal.
Stourbridge began the second half, however, with a clear determination to up their game, and there were chances galore, at least comparatively speaking, in the opening ten minutes. Broadhurst's free kick to the back post was headed back across goal by Scarr where Justin Richards nodded towards goal, only for Willis to cling on under the crossbar, before Bowerman and Richards combined with the latter pulling his shot wide.
Geddes then set Bowerman free down the right hand channel, with the former Walsall man shooting across Willis, who just about got enough on the ball to divert it beyond the far post for a corner, from which Richards' volley at the far post was palmed over by Willis.
Bowerman then saw a shot drift well wide, and a low cross from the right from Tonks was somehow stabbed out by a defender with Hawley lurking, although a goal-kick was awarded. All this, and still only an hour played.
Having failed to make their pressure count, it seemed that Stourbridge's whirlwind was subsiding and the Gladiators were beginning to establish themselves in the game again, so it was to the great relief of the Glassboys' contingent in the crowd that a goal at last arrived on 65 minutes. Geddes's corner from the left was headed on at the near post by Green, and Hawley stooped in the six-yard box to nod the ball over the line.
Stourbridge had chances to add to their lead, and generally looked the more likely side to score again, but Matlock always carried a threat, and more than once Stourbridge were guilty of backing off and allowing the home side too much opportunity to create openings. As long as the margin stayed at just the one goal, the match remained very much in the balance.
Hawley almost managed to squeeze the ball through to Bowerman in a good position ten minutes from time, with a covering defender just getting there first to clear, whilst Gould was quickly off his line to smother at the feet of Needham four minutes from time.
Matlock had another sight of goal with two minutes to play, but Ted Cribley struck his free kick from 25 yards straight at the wall, giving the Glassboys the chance to break, with Hawley's cross finding Richards in space, with his resulting shot off target.
Stourbridge were made to pay in the 92nd minute, though, as Cribley won the ball in midfield, before driving at the Stourbridge defence and releasing Siddall on the left-hand edge of the area who calmly picked his spot beyond Gould.
And Matlock could even have snatched it at the death as Purkiss turned fifteen yards out and volleyed low towards the corner with Gould diving to his left to turn the ball round the post for a corner that came to nothing.
A hard-earned point for the Glassboys, and possibly a valuable one in the final reckoning. It should arguably have been all three but on the balance of the game over the ninety minutes it would be churlish to deny that Matlock deserved something for their efforts.