MATLOCK TOWN 0-4 HALESOWEN TOWN
A disastrous day for Matlock saw a humiliating home defeat in a crucial relegation six pointer plus the departure of manager Mark Atkins.
The injury ravaged Gladiators were no match for a strong Halesowen outfit clearly up for the battle and the Yeltz must have been shocked at how easy they won as yet again Matlock failed to score, for the sixth time in eleven league matches, and they also failed to trouble visiting goalkeeper Matthew Sergeant.
Danny Holland and David Haggerty both failed fitness tests and Joe Leesley played despite having been laid low with a sickness bug for most of the week. Matt Andrews was given a start on the right flank while Leon Osborne replaced Holland in attack.
The opening twenty minutes were reasonably even with Chris Lait shooting well wide for the visitors and at the other end a shot from distance by Jamie Yates was too high by a similar margin.
But the opening goal came on 21 minutes when Ben Haseley’s shot was deflected for a corner on the right which was taken short and a scuffed shot from JOE HULL somehow threaded its way into the net .
From that point onwards Matlock were second best as Halesowen controlled the match.However Matlock might have equalized three minutes later when from a finely executed Jamie Yates free kick on the left, the ball narrowly evaded the onrushing Adam Yates plus the rest of the players when a touch would surely have found the net.
Matlock would not come as close again and they found themselves in deeper strife on 29 minutes when HASELEY found room on the left to fire a low diagonal strike beyond Kennedy to double his side’s advantage.
In the run up to half time another Haseley effort was deflected over the bar and Matlock needed a miracle, given their toothless attack and their confidence looking rock bottom. To add to their problems, Liam Needham did not return for the second half after picking up an injury during the opening period.
The match was good as over then but within five minutes of the restart a cracking strike from ROBERT THOMPSON-BROWN, from fully thirty yards arrowed past Jon Kennedy into the top corner. It looked as if Kennedy didn’t see it!
Then it was a case of damage limitation. Matlock introduced former Millwall midfielder Niall McManus who looked tidy on the ball, and although Josh Meade had a couple of shots which flew narrowly over and flashed across the face of goal, Halesowen remained in the box seat.
Thompson-Brown went close again and a header from Joel Kettle from a 66th minute corner was only a foot too high.
But a fourth goal to compound and complete Matlock’s misery arrived with three minutes left when Thompson-Brown was fouled and CHRIS LAIT blasted home from the spot.
Atkins had seen enough and immediately handed in his resignation after nearly six years in charge.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Phil Roe 3 Joe Leesley (15 Niall McManus 53) 4 Liam Needham (12 James Ashmore 46) 5 Adam Yates 6 Oscar Radford 7 Matt Andrews 8 Josh Meade 9 Leon Osborne (14 Sam Robinson 80) 10 Corey Gregory 11 Jamie Yates Other subs: 16 Alex Hewitt 17 Matty Leese
HALESOWEN TOWN: 1 Matthew Sergeant 2 Kristian Green 3 Asa Charlton (15 Aaron Griffiths 65) 4 Danny Bragioli (14 Thomas Tonks 81) 5 Joseph Hull 6 Curtis Tilt 7 Joel Kettle 8 Robert Thompson-Brown 9 Iysyden Christie (16 Elliott Turner 77) 10 Ben Haseley 11 Chris Lait Other subs: 12 Neil Mackenzie 17 Aaron Forde
REFEREE: J Clark (Walsall) ATTENDANCE: 272 BEST GLADIATOR: Jamie Yates