MICKLEOVER SPORTS 2-0 MATLOCK TOWN
The old guard beat the current Gladiators in Tuesday’s derby at Station Road to complete a miserable September for Town.
Former Matlock favourite Massiah MacDonald broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half with Sports substitute Anthony O’Neill- Dwyer netting the second with virtually the last kick of the contest. In between Matlock’s star player, goalkeeper George Willis had saved a penalty from Mickleover’s experienced playmaker John McGrath.
Both managers concurred that it was a game of two halves.
“We played some really good stuff and were the better side in the first half, I just wish we could do it for ninety minutes instead for part of the match” said Matlock boss Mark Hume.
In the other dug out were former Town players Glen Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins.
“Matlock were the better side in the first half, no question, we were poor but I thought we comfortably won the second half and I’m very pleased tonight” added a beaming Kirkwood.
It is difficult to argue with those views. Despite a fluid looking attacking line up and a promising start from striker Sam Smith, signed just three hours before kick off, Matlock still lacked penetration and as on Saturday at Grantham, they wanted to walk the ball into the net.
Mickleover looked uncertain at the back in the first half but the Gladiators simply lacked the penetration and cohesion to make the hosts pay. Sports, in contrast, looked far more dangerous when in the ascendancy, so the dye had been cast for Matlock’s winless sequence to stretch to seven league and cup outings.
Home custodian Ross Atkins dived smartly to his left to claw away a Ted Cribley free kick on 9 minutes before ten minutes later three successive Joel Purkiss crosses from the right threatened much but delivered nothing.
Niall McManus miskicked completely from ten yards, a Cribley strike was blocked from the second one, while the third was hammered in to produce a fruitless corner.
Willis comfortably gathered a shot from Anthony Griffiths-Junior on 25 minutes following a neat pass from Jack Broadhead, this being followed by McGrath driving wide a free kick on the half hour and then McGrath firing fiercely but wildly off target shortly afterwards.
Atkins beat Smith to a Cribley pass as the opening half finished scoreless, and Matlock probably reflecting they should have had some reward for their efforts.
But the visitors scarcely had time to settle after the break before they fell behind as MACDONALD was allowed to turn and fire a low shot past Willis. So often the Matlock hero, especially in the famous FA Trophy victory against Mansfield, he had become the Mickleover favourite and had turned the match emphatically in the Derby side’s favour.
Smith, off balance, swung at a McManus centre from the right and cleared the bar from fifteen yards but Matlock were in strife again as Griffiths- Junior pounced on a rare error from Adam Yates, only for the returning Micky Harcourt, partnering his long time pal in the heart of the defence, to send him crashing to the turf.
Willis though kept Town’s heads above water, flinging himself to his right to push away McGrath’s 53rd minute spot kick.
Willis would add fine saves from MacDonald and Andrew Dales while a strong run from Griffiths-Junior ended with a well struck shot flashing narrowly past the post.
Purkiss sliced high and horribly off target and a looping Harcourt header was easily caught by Atkins as Matlock never seriously threatened to grab an equaliser.
A piledriver from substitute Scott Maxfield was even blocked by a fellow Gladiator before O’NEILL DWYER finished off Jake Bennett’s low right wing cross to ensure Matlock kept their unenviable record of losing every league and cup game they have played on Sports’ soil.
MICKLEOVER SPORTS 1Ross Atkins 2 Jake Bennett 3 Chris Spencer 4 Jack Broadhead 5 Dwayne Wiley 6 Nico DeGirolamo 7 Andy Dales 8 Anthony Griffiths-Junior (14 Simeon Oshoboke 74) 9 Massiah MacDonald (16 Anthony O’Neill Dwyer 88) 10 John McGrath 11 Charlie Dawes Other subs: 12 Gary Ricketts 15 Chris Palmer 17 Tom Turner
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Jason Paling 3 Ben Algar 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Adam Yates 6 Micky Harcourt 7 Ted Cribley (12 Scott Maxfield 83) 8 Joel Purkiss 9 Sam Smith 10 Jordan Deacey (16 Jack Siddall 73) 11 Niall McManus Other subs: 14 Danny Holland 15 Harry Coates 18 Ryan Pugh
REFEREE: S Richardson (Huthwaite) ATTENDANCE: 272 BEST GLADIATOR: George Willis