Matlock Town 3-0 Frickley Athletic
Gladiators stalwart Mick Tomlinson would have grinned as he looked down on the Autoworld Arena with a satisfying feeling when Matlock returned to winning ways and gained three precious points in Tuesday night’s six pointer.
The Matlock Town President passed away the day before and after the players and fans had observed an impeccable one minute’s silence in his memory, the lads on the field set about the job of bringing home the corn.
He would have recognized that the Yorkshire visitors, who had a four point advantage over Matlock having played a game more prior to kick off, made a decent fight of it, but in the end, Matlock might have easily won more convincingly.
Wearing black armbands, they drew first blood through Danny Holland just before the half hour, wasted a great chance to double it ten minutes later when Holland failed from the penalty spot, only to then add two second half goals. Goalkeeper Jamie Green was given the dubious credit of an own goal on 50 minutes before Joe Leesley rounded off a ver satisfactory night’s work a minute from the end.
It was also the last game before the Gladiators hierarchy named their new manager, so caretakers Dave Rushbury and Martin Foster’s chances would not have come to any harm.
After the no-show at Workington, they brought Jason Stokes and Micky Harcourt into their starting line up in place of Corey Gregory and Lawrence Gorman.
A contrast in styles was soon apparent. Frickley’s up and at them direct style caused the Gladiators some anxiety early on and it required a smart block by Jon Kennedy from Gavin Allott in the 10th minute to keep his side level.
Some quick thinking from James Ashmore nearly led to Matlock finding the target ten minutes afterwards. His free kick left Stokes with just Green to beat but his shot only found the side netting.
But Matlock were becoming increasingly fluent with their passing and movement. With Niall McManus scheming and Ashmore spraying balls about with freedom and confidence, they notched the vital opener on 29 minutes when Stokes and Ashmore combined for the former to play HOLLAND clear with a delightfully weighted pass which the hosts’ leading scorer sweetly lifted over Green.
A fierce Phil Roe drive whistled across goal before in a crazy moment of madness, Green tripped Harcourt when in possession, some fans feeling he had kicked out at the Matlock full back, to be booked and give away a penalty. Some referees might have sent him off. But Holland’s effort lacked power and direction and Green saved himself a red face with a comfortable save.
Green would still be embarrassed, but not until after Matthew Young had rattled the Matlock crossbar with a stinging shot following a poor Oscar Radford clearance. That was immediately after the restart, four minutes later Frickley were staring defeat in the face.
Green parried a Gregory shot towards Holland who pushed the loose ball against a post, Frickley hurriedly clearing their lines to concede a corner. Ashmore swung it in and under pressure from Radford, GREEN appeared to punch the ball into his own net.
Kennedy held another Young shot this time to his right as Frickley applied pressure in a recovery bid. The Matlock number one followed this with the best save of the night, flinging himself to his right to beat away Allott’s power packed effort.
Matlock needed to stay strong and they did. Leesley was moved up front from a withdrawn deeper role behind Holland and Stokes after the latter limped off with an ankle injury and Leesley suddenly found an extra couple of gears to earn star rating.
He ran Frickley ragged and having had two attempts charged down and a near post effort go over the bar, his 71st minute piledriver took the slightest of deflections as it flew marginally too high.
Town were now in total command and Frickley’s assistant boss James Dudgeon’s frustration boiled over as he was removed from the dug out by referee Meredith.
Green raced off his line to hack clear from Gregory before clawing out a Holland strike low to his left. LEESLEY deservedly got on the scoresheet as he and Holland broke clear. The youngster did not need his senior partner’s help though as he crashed his shot home under Green from the edge of the box.
Leesley might have added another as he failed to meet a Gorman cross to the near post.
It was a job well done by Matlock who did their President proud.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Phil Roe 4 Adam Yates 5 David Haggerty (14 Lawrence Gorman 63) 6 Oscar Radford 7 Niall McManus 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Joe Leesley 11 Jason Stokes (16 Corey Gregory 44) Other subs: 12 Josh Meade 15 Lavell White
FRICKLEY ATHLETIC: 1 James Green 2 Jacob Stannard 3 Macauley Parkinson 4 Max Leonard (12 Joe Davies 63) 5 John Cyrus 6 Simon Harrison 7 Bradley Riley 8 Matthew Young 9 Danny South 10 Gavin Allott (14 Jack Dean 85) 11 Luke Hinsley Other subs: 15 Lee Stratford 16 Karl Rose 17 Jon Hood
REFEREE: Steven Meredith (Mansfield) ATTENDANCE: 208 BEST GLADIATOR: Joe Leesley