Frickley Athletic 1-3 Matlock Town
Matlock extended their unbeaten run to five games and secured their first away win in four months in terrible weather at Westfield Lane on Saturday.
A fierce gale force wind blew down the length of the field making it the worst possible conditions to play in but the Gladiators made light work of it, being better than Frickley in both halves. They attacked with more conviction than their hosts and defended more sensibly, playing their way out of trouble instead of employing the big hoof as Frickley did in there first half. Clearances would return from where they came as the wind dominated.
Adam Yates came in for Daryll Thomas in the only change to the line up which had beaten Droylsden a week earlier. Matlock kicked down the slope and had the elements with them, looking to build a healthy half time lead knowing it could be a backs to the wall job in the second period.
Shaun Tuton might have given them a 5th minute lead but he drove wide, much to the frustration of striking partner Danny Holland who was up alongside him in support. Goalkeeper James Hitchcock saved at Tuton’s feet on 13 minutes in virtual one way traffic towards the Frickley goal before Matlock got a lucky break three minutes later. JAMES ASHMORE, against his old club, floated over a corner from the left which totally deceived Hitchcock and nestled in the net.
As Matlock remained in the ascendancy, Kaspar Amdal blocked a well struck Martin Foster effort and Tuton escaped on the right, but with him being off balance, his cross was cut out with fellow Gladiators homing in.
Another Tuton break on the right saw him set up Yates who ballooned a twenty yarder well over the bar in what had to be classed as a presentable chance.
A rare Frickley foray saw Sam Denton head a free kick straight at Kennedy but Matlock doubled their lease just before the half hour when Holland unselfishly fed TUTON who drove firmly under Hitchcock from twelve yards.
Yates poked a Joe Leesley cross narrowly wide as Matlock looked to add to their tally but at the interval they had to be content with a two goal advantage with the big question being “would it be enough?”
The answer was a resounding yes, particularly as within two minutes of the restart the lead was increased to three. Hitchcock was culpable in giving away possession to TUTON who calmly took the ball around him and placed his shot into the vacant net.
That was a body blow for the hosts who never recovered. Matlock coped comfortably with the elements and expected but limited Frickley pressure as the weather worsened with rain now blowing into the faces of the Matlock defenders.
Tuton, having been booked for a foul on Jake Picton, was then brought off by boss Mark Atkins, a sensible decision to avoid a possible red card. Thomas, his replacement, had an immediate chance to enter the scoresheet when Holland played him clear of the home defence, but with only Hitchcock to beat, he screwed a low shot wide.
Fernando Moke floated a free kick high over the bar as Kennedy was having a rather trouble-free afternoon, his only worry being a caution for time wasting.
But he was beaten by the best goal of the game six minutes from time when substitute JIMMY GHIACHEM blasted a superb twenty five yard shot into the top corner which the aforementioned Kennedy had no chance of stopping. But it was far too little, far too late from the Frickley viewpoint.
For Matlock it was an excellent performance and an excellent three points which keeps their play off hopes alive.
FRICKLEY ATHLETIC: 1 James Hitchcock 2 Steven Gardner (Andy Villerman 60) 3 George Grayson (Ryan Pyzkowski 64) 4 Jake Picton 5 Sam Denton 6 Kasper Amdal 7 Fernando Moke 8 Joe Wilcox 9 Luke Hinsley 10 Leon Osborne 11 Joe Kenny (12 Jimmy Ghiachem 46) Other subs: 14 Luke Jeffs 17 Jon Hood
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 (15 Corey Gregory 88) 10 Shaun Tuton (12 Daryll Thomas 64), 11 Adam Yates. Other subs: 14 Lavell White 17 Matty Leese
REFEREE: N Gibbons-Oldham ATTENDANCE: 234 BEST GLADIATOR: Danny Holland