Matlock Town 1-4 Chesterfield
Chesterfield were convincing winners to collect the first Autoworld Trophy at a canter over Matlock at the Autoworld Arena on Wednesday night.
Matlock manager Mark Atkins admitted his side had “been taught a bit of a lesson”, and had it not been for an outstanding display by goalkeeper Ross Atkins, the former Derby stopper standing in for Jon Kennedy who had work commitments elsewhere, it might have been an embarrassing evening for the non-leaguers.
After an even opening few minutes, Chesterfield then asserted firm authority on proceedings and went ahead after 13 minutes when ARMAND GRANDUILLET headed home from close range following an excellent cross from the right by Jimmy Ryan, this quickly following Atkins’ first great save of the night as he palmed away a stinging effort from Romy Boco.
Atkins stopped Granduillet from adding a quick second with another fine stop, the goalkeeper adding to his list of heroics by denying Sam Morsy and Gary Roberts late in the first half.
But despite being outplayed, Matlock could so easily have gone in at half time on level terms, when from virtually the last kick before the whistle, Leon Osborne fired hopelessly off target with only Chesterfield’s trialist goalkeeper to beat after being superbly and unselfishly fed by Danny Holland.
A flurry of substitutions were made by both sides from the interval onwards, the second period beginning with a bad miss from Gary Roberts who wanted far too much time to line up his shot with the goal gaping, Matlock recovering to clear their lines.
Atkins held a Granduillet volley before Paul Cook’s men had a second escape on 54 minutes. Jason Stokes’ beautifully flighted free kick was met by a powerful Holland header which crashed against the bar.
But MORSY showed everyone else how to find the target, scoring with a crisply hit twenty five yarder which left Atkins rooted to the spot just before the hour.
Six minutes later it was three as the lively EOIN DOYLE held off three challenges to fire low past Atkins as a cricket score looked possible.
But Manager Atkins threw on Tansley based youngster MATT ANDREWS for the Gladiators and he made an almost instant impact, rifling a brilliant thirty yarder just inside the angle of post and bar that no would have beaten international goalkeepers, never mind a Chesterfield trialist.He had the consolation of scoring the goal of the night which drew universal applause from all parts of the stadium.
Chesterfield still had the final say as DAN GARDNER’s low shot had too much venom for an overworked Atkins who got a hand to it, but could only help it on its route to the net.
Chesterfield opened Matlock up at will, dominated most of the contest and thoroughly deserved the victory.
Matlock badly ned more penetration and strength in attack as Chesterfield ‘s goal seldom came under any sustained threat, but they will want to learn from mistakes in other areas too, which were cruelly punished.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Ross Atkins 2 Micky Harcourt (16 Alex Hewitt 55) 3 Phil Roe (20 Matt Andrews 73) 4 Martin Foster (17 Oliver Brook 66) 5 David Haggerty (12 Joe Leesley 46) 6 Oscar Radford 7 Corey Gregory (15 Josh Meade 46) 8 Adam Yates 9 Danny Holland 10 Leon Osborne (14 Lavell White 57) 11 Jason Stokes. Subs not used: 13 Matt Leese 18 Regan Edridge 19 Deano Freeman
CHESTERFIELD (shirts not numbered): Trialist, Dariwka (Talbot 68), Evatt (Raglan 75) Cooper (Trialist 68), Jones (Humphreys 58), Ryan (Featherstone 70), Morsy ( Gardner 65), O’Shea (Michael 75),Boco (Hird 58), Roberts (Trialist 75), Granduillet (Doyle 58)
REFEREE: Paul Thompson (Chesterfield) ATTENDANCE: 1023