MATLOCK TOWN 2-1 HYDE UNITED
After a slow start Matlock improved as the game went on to recover from conceding an early goal and deservedly taking all three points.
It was the Gladiators’ first outing since the Christmas Monday win at Ilkeston, and it showed early on as Hyde were quickly out of the traps and seeking their first league win since October 26.
Matlock kept all three of their new signings on the bench at the start although all three would make appearances later in the contest.
Ben Algar, in for the suspended Ted Cribley, shot across the face of goal in the game’s first meaningful attack on 5 minutes but two minutes later, Hyde were in front.
Referee Lisa Rashid, who otherwise had a fine game, applied an advantage clause which was not really there as Craig Nelthorpe was brought down. Hyde won the ball back and there was also an element of offside overlooked by the assistant as the visitors worked the ball sweetly down the right before Laurie Bell crossed for AYRTON BEVINS to fire home from close range at the near post.
Two minutes later the lively Scott Spencer drove at George Willis as Matlock looked second best, although there was hope when Joel Purkiss released Charlie Dawes whose shot was blocked by goalkeeper Sam Vince’s legs.
Bevins had the ball in the net again but this time the offside flag was raised before he placed a header wide and Spencer did likewise from a curling free kick. Willis then did well to keep out another Spencer effort as Matlock successfully weathered the early storm.
There were bookings for Hyde’s Reece Gray and Andrew Pearson in quick succession for fouls on Adam Yates and Joel Purkiss respectively, the second one leading to an excellent free kick from man of the match Laurie Wilson that had Vince scrambling to his left to push the ball to safety.
That was on 37 minutes and showed that Matlock were struggling to create any clear cut chances. That moment though led to an improvement as they at last put Hyde under a period of sustained pressure which led to their 44th minute equaliser.
From a second corner, Hyde struggled to clear their lines and the ball broke to WILSON fifteen yards out who lashed a ferocious and unstoppable shot into the top of the net, just the tonic Matlock needed.
Manager Hume brought on defender Tom Burgin for his debut at half time, Wilson being pushed into midfield and Dawes being withdrawn.
Matlock went on to dominate long periods of the second half although Hyde had the first attempt when Pearson flicked his header too high from a free kick. The hosts’ response was to force two successive corners, both being pin point deliveries from Wilson, the second one again being unconvincingly cleared.
Niall McManus turned smartly but lifted his shot on to the cricket pitch before Nicky Travis received the third yellow card of the game for a foul on the half way line on Bell.
Travis was then replaced giving Andy Gascoigne his debut, Gascoigne’s quick thinking would prove decisive later on.
Burgin saw his header deflected wide as the Gladiators increased the tempo and Micky Harcourt headed softly at Vince when well placed shortly afterwards. A booking for Burgin followed leading to a free kick which Pearson nodded harmlessly off target but the six foot plus central defender was soon at the opposite end, another header spinning off a Hyde defender for an unproductive corner.
Vince was causing Hyde fans hearts to flutter ,repeatedly playing the role of sweeper as he rushed out of his zone and he did it once too often in the 77th minute. Instead of leaving a clearance to Michael Muscat, he headed the ball towards the half way line but Gascoigne was waiting to punish him. The Gladiators new signing instantly hoisted the ball towards goal, the ball bounced up to gently hit the bar and the alert McMANUS was following up to poke in a bizarre winner from a yard out.
Although Spencer had a shot which drifted wide and Willis was well placed to hold another Spencer attempt, Matlock comfortably saw the game out , James Burke taking the final booking tally to five as Hume’s men took an important three points, given they have some tough games to come in the second half of the season.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Ben Algar (16 Jake Orrell 80) 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Adam Yates 6 Nicky Travis (12 Andy Gascoigne 60) 7 Charlie Dawes (15 Tom Burgin 46) 8 Liam Needham 9 Joel Purkiss 10 Niall McManus 11 Craig Nelthorpe Other subs: 14 Danny Holland 17 Liam Gaughan
HYDE UNITED: 1 Sam Vince 2 Ryan Ellison 3 James Burke 4 Andrew Pearson 5 Luke Trimble (15 Michael Muscat 53) 6 Laurie Bell 7 Sam Fitton (14 Adam Jones 28) 8 Ben Holmes 9 Scott Spencer 10 Ayrton Bevins (12 Peter Boyle 74) 11 Reece Gray Other sub: 16 Big Khamsuk
REFEREE: Lisa Rashid (Birmingham) ATTENDANCE: 364 BEST GLADIATOR: Laurie Wilson