STAVELEY MW 1-1 MATLOCK TOWN
Matlock dominated much of their penultimate pre season game against their Toolstation NCEL Premier Division hosts at Inkersall Road, but a lack of penetration where it mattered, in the opponents’ penalty box, cost them victory.
For all of their possession, the Gladiators goal came from the penalty spot, converted by DANNY HOLLAND on 59 minutes after the lively Jason Stokes had been tripped by Brad Jones. This has to be a worry for manager Mark Atkins ahead of the new season as vital points are likely to go astray.
This was emphasized with five minutes left as Jon Kennedy, who had scarcely had a shot to save all night, was beaten by a strike from Staveley skipper JORDAN EAGERS, whose shot struck Adam Yates on its way to the target.
On a wet night both teams took a while to settle and there was little goalmouth action in the opening exchanges which were closely fought. Matlock though began to control proceedings from around the twenty minute mark with Staveley defenders doing well to clear two low dangerous balls played in by Stokes from the right.
It was Stokes who came closest to a goal in the opening half, his low twenty yarder rebounding back off goalkeeper Steve Hernandez’s left hand post on 27 minutes.
Then a fine header from Holland released Leon Osborne whose cross was disappointingly cut out with both Liam Needham and Stokes up in support.
Needham then forced Hernandez into a full length save to earn a corner from which Adam Yates headed powerfully wide.
Osborne looked more threatening on 36 minutes showing strength and persistence to fire in a low effort which Hernandez palmed past a post. Then only a fine challenge by defender Matt Hassett on Osborne prevented another opportunity at the expense of another flag kick which saw David Haggerty nod wide.
Matlock would be upset at not being in front at the interval, they really needed to have made their pressure pay.
Hernandez denied Matlock twice in quick succession early in the second half with Holland and then Stokes being on the receiving end before they eventually did open the scoring.
They remained in control in spite of the usual raft of changes in pre season games but could not find a second goal to put the match to bed.
After their equalizer, Staveley came on strong looking for a winner and Luke Walker came close to a surprising winner with a fierce shot from the left that whistled inches beyond the back post.
STAVELEY: 1 Steve Hernandez 2 James Colliver 3 Ryan Dickenson 4 Sam Finlaw 5 Matt Hassett 6 Craig Fisher 7 Ellis Wall 8 Jordan Eagers 9 Jack Watts 10 Ryan Damms 11 Jack Poulton Subs used: 12 Michael Trench 14 Luke Walker 15 Brad Jones.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt ((12 Lavell White 57) 3 Joe Leesley (18 Dean Freeman 77) 4 Josh Meade 5 David Haggerty 6 Adam Yates 7 Liam Needham (14 Oliver Brock 77) 8 Jason Stokes 9 Danny Holland 10 Leon Osborne (15 Corey Gregory 57) 11 Niall Dawkins (16 Jordan Snodin 77)
REFEREE: H Karainanov-Sutton in Ashfield Attendance: 123