The Gladiators eased to victory netting three times in the final seventeen minutes.
Saturday’s friendly at Langwith Road was in the end a stroll in the park for Matlock as goalkeeper Jon Kennedy scarcely had a noteworthy stop to make all afternoon.
Nathan Joynes struck first on 37 minutes before a trialist notched a brace either side of a Lee Ellington penalty. Matlock never really had to break sweat against their Baris NCEL First Division hosts, who certainly did not pose anywhere near the threat that their neighbours and divisional rivals Teversal had done four days earlier.
An uneven surface did not help a passing game as for long periods the Gladiators struggled to find any rhythm or cohesion. The closest either side came to a breakthrough in an untidy beginning was when the hosts’ goalkeeper struggled to claw away Chris Bettney’s free kick. It was a further twenty minutes before James Ashmore drove wide from distance before three minutes afterwards a foul on Brad Grayson resulted in another Bettney free kick, which this time cleared the bar.
Ben Algar fired wide after at last there was a controlled build up with Joynes neatly chesting down Grayson’s centre into the winger’s path before JOYNES nodded Matlock into the lead. A corner was half cleared and Kris Bowler’s fierce drive was well kept out by the goalkeeper but the Matlock striker was alert to force in the rebound from point blank range.
A plethora of substitutions was made again by manager Mark Atkins at the interval as the pattern of Matlock looking comfortable without looking as if they would run away with the match continued. That was until the final quarter.
A Shirebrook substitute spurned their best chance on 65 minutes, finding room in the Gladiators’ penalty box but heading a free kick wide. That proved to be Matlock’s one and only scary moment as Ryan Laight and Laurence Gaughan remained steadfast as a central defensive partnership.
Matlock’s second goal on 74 minutes was well worked as Laight’s long pass was beautifully controlled by Ellington who slipped a gorgeous pass through for the TRIALIST to confidently finish. The trialist winger who had netted inside thirty six seconds at Teversal was then upended three minutes later. ELLINGTON remained a picture of calmness as he cheekily dinked the penalty into the centre of the net, completely outfoxing the Reds’ goalkeeper.
The scoring ended as the match entered stoppage time as the TRIALIST netted his second direct from a free kick with a low but not too powerful strike. The badly positioned goalkeeper had no chance of keeping the ball out.
For Matlock it was a case of job done. Stronger and more taxing tests will definitely await them.
MATLOCK TOWN: Jon Kennedy,Trialist, Trialist, Kris Bowler, Laurence Gaughan, Ryan Laight, Chris Bettney, James Ashmore, Nathan Joynes, Bradley Grayson, Ben Algar.
Subs: Gareth Davies, Lee Ellington, Micky Harcourt, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist-all half time, Kris Witcombe 59 min.
ATTENDANCE: 120 est REFEREE: H Karainavov-Sutton-in-Ashfield.