There were no mistakes this week as Matlock easily brushed aside the division’s basement club and whipping boys Droylsden at the Butchers Arms on Saturday.
For Matlock it was really a no-win scenario, as they were expected to win convincingly as so many other clubs had done, and put on a good performance into the bargain.
They succeeded on most counts, as they scored four and should really have scored more against a team that looks to be going in only one direction, down to the First Division North.
David Haggerty was passed fit and he partnered Adam Yates in central defence with Oscar Radford dropping to the bench. Other changes saw the return of Martin Foster, James Ashmore and Lavell White from the team knocked out of the FA Cup at Carlton.
It was important Matlock started well and they did. They could so easily have been two goals up in the first three minutes as White fed Daryll Thomas who was denied a goal by a good stop from goalkeeper Daniel Tabener. Then Tabener was alert to push White’s shot away at his near post.
It was all one way traffic towards the Bloods goal and skipper Liam Needham broke forward to plant a sixth minute header straight at Tabener after White crossed from the left.
Tabener was keeping Droylsden afloat almost single handedly as he again came to their rescue on 13 minutes, blocking a near post strike by Thomas, so he would have been annoyed that his defenders gave Matlock the opening goal they deserved on 19 minutes when Daryl Grant fouled Thomas who confidently tucked away the penalty to give the Gladiators a 19th minute lead.
Matlock looked to build on their advantage and Ashmore drove just inches too high from outside the penalty box on 29 minutes after Needham had created the chance.
Then only a fine tackle by Carlos Royce-Edmondson prevented Thomas from almost certainly doubling the lead after the number ten had broken clear.
A great chance went begging when White opted to shoot instead of feeding the unmarked Holland who had the goal gaping as Matlock found it all too easy.
There was one worrying moment for them as Droylsden broke at pace from a Matlock corner but Yates was there to cut out Dylan Wolstenhulme’s shot and the danger quickly passed.
Normal service was resumed with Tabener keeping out Holland’s header as half-time arrived with Matlock having almost completely dominated but holding just a slender one goal lead.
But that was soon doubled, again from the penalty spot. This time Holland was fouled by Enis Fermino and again Thomas smacked home the penalty with the minimum of fuss on 49 minutes.
Holland then struck the base of the post before Matlock lost Micky Harcourt after a heavy challenge which saw Radford come on at right-back.
Out of the blue the strugglers halved the deficit when Matlock went to sleep at the back and Dylan Maloney shot home to give Droylsden a glimmer of hope with 63 minutes gone.
But Matlock swiftly regained the initiative as Thomas shot narrowly wide when well-placed before he was withdrawn for Corey Gregory.
Gregory wasted little time in making his mark as he virtually walked the ball home inside 30 seconds of coming on to restore the Gladiators’ two-goal advantage.
As Matlock looked to add to their lead, Holland pulled a shot wide after latching on to a pass from White in a good Matlock build up.
But the visitors had to wait until the start of stoppage time to score their fourth as Holland cleverly drew Tabener before striking a rising shot into the vacant net and finish off a win that was all too easy.
Matlock should have won even more convincingly but they would have settled for a 4-1 win before they travelled, the result leaving them in sixth place.
DROYLSDEN: 1 Daniel Tabener 2 Ben Hampson 3 Carlos Royce-Edmondson 4 Enis Fermino 5 Daryl Grant 6 Adnan Ahmed 7 Dylan Wolstenhulme (17 Ryan Hibbert 73) 8 Maure Fernandez 9 Domaine Royce (15 Porya Ahmadi 51) 10 Domingos Silvero (14 Malachi Slaven 60) 11 Dylan Maloney Other subs: 12 Daniel McLoughlin 16 Keith Clarkson
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt (14 Oscar Radford 60) 3 Joe Leesley 4 Martin Foster (12 Anton Foster 84) 5 David Haggerty 6 Adam Yates 7 Liam Needham 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Daryll Thomas (16 Corey Gregory 73) 11 Lavelle White
Other subs: 15 Lee Featherstone 17 Matty Leese
REFEREE: C Ward (Blyth, Notts) ATTENDANCE: 108 BEST GLADIATOR: James Ashmore
Report by Ian Richardson.