Matlock Town 2-0 King’s Lynn Town
Lewis McMahon’s brace earned Matlock their victory, but others behind him put in sterling effort to ensure another clean sheet at home.
The Linnets, fourth in the table prior to kick off, will have travelled back down the A17 probably reflecting that a two goal defeat was harsh, but they came up against a solid and resilient Matlock outfit who had chances themselves to have scored more than two.
There were lots of top performances from the boys in blue, but Jon Kennedy in his stand out lime green kit was a candidate for man of the match. Not only did he pull off some tremendous saves, but he dominated his box and marshaled the excellent Matlock back four who have let in just a miserly eight goals now in their thirteen home league games so far.
McMahon should probably have scored in the 5th minute when he found himself free ten yards from goal. But with only goalkeeper Alex Street to beat his first time volley was sliced wide.
The Linnets George Thomson followed McMahon’s example, albeit from a far more difficult opportunity three minutes later before winger Andrew Hall shot wide from the edge of the box in the 12th minute.
The chance count was equalized by the 15th minute when Darryl Thomas burst through the middle but allowed Street to grab the ball off his toes as he bore down on goal.
King’s Lynn were looking the more dangerous having more of the play and Kennedy excelled on 19 minutes with a brilliant tip over the bar from a stinging effort by Jack McGovern but in the main Matlock were halting the Linnets attacks before they became potent and their resilience would become even more praiseworthy as they took a 38th minute lead.
Hall was booked for bringing down Joe Leesley on the left and James Ashmore’s teasing free kick found McMAHON free in the box to slip a smart finish beyond Street.
The lead might have been doubled five minutes later after a fine flowing move which ended with Leesley breaking from deep only to fire wildly over the bar when composure was required.
Lynn made a half time substitution bringing on Charley Sanders for George Thomson and Sanders nearly made an immediate impact. In an amazing escape for Matlock, Jason Lee’s header rebounded off the bar to Sanders inside the six yard box. But Sanders struck the bar as well and a relieved Matlock hacked the ball clear.
The Visitors piled on the pressure but Matlock stood firm with David Haggerty and Oscar Radford again outstanding at the heart of the defence.
The introduction of Shaun Tuton, not fit to start having not trained in the week due to a hamstring problem, gave Matlock extra mobility and balance in attack, but Matlock were still having to defend stoutly with a magnificent block by Leesley preventing Hall’s shot from causing any damage.
Matlock then broke swiftly to the other end and after a Needham cross was headed out by Lee, James Ashmore shot narrowly wide from a good chance to give the Gladiators that extra breathing space.
But that daylight came in the 71st minute when Danny Holland found McMAHON in the box. Needham made a clever decoy run to give McMahon the space to beat two defenders before placing a precision low shot into the corner.
McMahon headed another opportunity too high as Lynn became frustrated, this being shown in a flare up on the half way line which saw substitute Ewan Clarke booked.
Haggerty, still searching for his first Matlock goal had another near miss with an 83rd minute header from a free kick which was too high and late on substitute Corey Gregory headed Micky Harcourt’s centre straight at Street.
King’s Lynn were still fighting though and it took a magnificent save from Kennedy to deny Dan Quigley and keep Matlock’s third clean sheet in a row at home.
It was a great win for Matlock against a very capable side. The win earned the Gladiators their first league double of the campaign after a 4-0 victory at The Walks in September, and the Linnets will be glad to see the back of McMahon. All of his four goals this season have come against them!
Skipper Liam Needham was the only Matlock booking for a late challenge on Quigley in the second half.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Martin Foster 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford 7 Liam Needham 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland (16 Cecil Nyoni 88), 10 Daryl Thomas (12 Shaun Tuton 57), 11 Lewis McMahon (15 Corey Gregory 76) Other subs: 14 Lavell White 17 Matty Leese
KING’S LYNN TOWN: 1 Alex Street 2 Peter Bore 3 Jordan Yong (15 Gary Mills 80) 4 Jason Lee 5 Ryan Fryatt 6 Jack McGovern 7 Andrew Hall 8 Dan Quigley 9 Robert Duffy (12 Ewan Clarke 70) 10 George Thomson (14 Charley Sanders 46) 11 Jake Jones Other subs: 16 Ryan Clarke 17 Christopher Ward
REFEREE: G Law-Leicester ATTENDANCE: 336 BEST GLADIATOR: Oscar Radford