The date was the December 15, 1976.
A date that is folklore amongst Matlock fans as it is the day that the Gladiators would travel to Mansfield Town and come away with a famous 2-5 victory in the FA Cup second round proper, the side of 1976/1977 considered by some to be the best side to ever grace the club, names such as Nick Fenoughty, Dave Goodwin, Colin Oxley and Peter Scot all goal scorers on the day now etched in to club history and now the current side are in position to create their own piece of history that will be remembered for generations to come.
After beating Stalybridge Celtic at home in the FA Trophy thanks to a last minute winner from on loan striker Massiah McDonald after ‘Mr Matlock’ James Lukic himself on his record equaling 591st appearance for the club thumped a header home to get Matlock back on level terms, fans piled on to the Football Association website waiting to see who we’d pulled out of the hat to come up against on the November 24 and it was sure to be the ace of the draw, a trip to Field Mill to take on Blue Square Premier side Mansfield Town, after informing my father of who we’d got in the draw he began unravelling memories from the 1976/1977 clash and wondering what if history could repeat itself.
The task is not an easy one, Mansfield Town have had a cracking start to the BSP season and have some top players who are rightfully pushing for promotion to the football league but in the FA Trophy anything is possible, league standings mean nothing, it’s all about who wants it more over 90 minutes and if the two sides can’t be separated at the end of play then a replay will take place back at Causeway Lane but I’ll state it in text, I believe we can do it, after a poor start to the season manager Mark Atkins has turned things round with impressive wins over promotion chasing Chorley FC and AFC Marine and after beating Blue Square North side Stalybridge Celtic anything is possible, if the side of 1976/1977 can do what was deemed unthinkable then the side of 2012/2013 should have no fear and as the club nickname suggests enter the stadium like Gladiators, full of pride to wear the royal blue.
The amount of people I’ve seen talk to me on Twitter about getting on the fans coaches to the game which you can do for £5 with the coach leaving the ground at half past one is staggering, it’s almost like the whole of Derbyshire is behind us and the fans doing their bit is just as important as the players, its time to step up and be the 12th man on one of our biggest days in recent history.
Simply put, we have nothing to loose and £5,000 plus a passage into the next round to gain, I hope next week I’ll be able to come to you and recount memories of an extraordinary day and that Matlock Town will be the talk of Derbyshire, fingers crossed as dreams can come true.
Have a wonderful week and I hope to see all of you in the away end at Field Mill backing the lads.
By James Griffiths
Follow me on Twitter @TheMatlockFan