BUXTON 3-0 MATLOCK TOWN
Former Matlock boss Mark Atkins watched from the terraces as Monday’s defeat, their sixth on the spin, completed a miserable Easter weekend for the Gladiators. Buxton, having lost their last three matches, rediscovered the winning habit to earn a league double over their A6 rivals.
After trading blows with the Bucks, Matlock conceded twice in four minutes shortly before the interval with the hosts adding their third midway through the second half.
Despite the heavier scoreline this was at least an improvement on Saturday’s home defeat to Skelmersdale when Matlock showed little passion and creativity. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and errors made at vital times cost the visitors any chance of ending their barren run.
Adam Yates was again ruled out with back trouble so the news that work commitments would also see Tom Burgin out of the side was a major blow for Mark Hume and the Matlock supporters. Micky Harcourt partnered Laurie Wilson in central defence with Ben Algar being recalled at left back and Jason Paling slotting into the right back position. Hume also recalled Joel Purkiss in attack with Jordan Ball dropping to the bench.
Attacking down the slope in the first half, Buxton immediately went for the kill with George Willis holding a twenty yarder from Nicky Walker and a Jamie Green free kick flashing across the penalty box.
Matlock’s 7th minute response was a Jamie Vardy inspired flick from Purkiss which was grabbed by Myles Wright at the near post before the Bucks’ immediate reply was a swift attack and Willis did well to keep out a Bradley Barraclough strike despite being unsighted. Willis would then soon save equally well from a deflected shot from Alex Wiles.
Matlock then looked to have established a foothold in the game as they created some chances of their own. A Ted Cribley header and a Danny Holland shot were both wide before Holland could not control an assist from Purkiss.
Then Purkiss had a great opportunity to put Town in front but he went for placement instead of power and Wright was able to bundle his low shot away for a corner which eventually dropped to him sixteen yards out only for his power packed volley to be superbly blocked by a Bucks defender.
In a good Matlock spell Holland did well to fashion a shooting chance from the right, his decent twenty yard attempt narrowly passing the far post.
But Matlock still offered Buxton chances, Willis again doing well to push away a Walker shot but a poor defensive decision led to Buxton breaking the deadlock on 37 minutes. Matlock had ample opportunity to clear their lines with a hoof out of the ground but their failure to do the simple thing saw them pressurised into conceding a corner. Then BARRACLOUGH rose at the near post to glance home a firm header and Matlock were in strife once more.
George Grayson’s low shot was scrambled clear before Buxton struck again when WALKER overlapped on the right and his low shot took a jump off the pitch to beat Willis’ dive and put Buxton firmly in the driving seat.
Matlock had plenty of the play in the second half but seldom looked like cutting into their deficit.
Purkiss made ground down the right only for his low centre to elude Holland and a fine interception by home skipper Greg Young stopped Purkiss again.
Ashley Worsfold shot too high for the Bucks and at the other end substitute Ball shot goalwards only for his attempt to strike Holland and loop over the bar.
But the game was sealed in the 69th minute when WALKER’s low twenty yarder comprehensively beat Willis’ dive and nestled in the bottom corner.
Worsfold had two quick chances in succession to make it four but was denied by Willis.
Buxton deserved their win because they were better at the business ends of the pitch. No nonsense uncompromising defending coupled with a hard working attack won the day as not for the first time this season, the Gladiators were punished for a lack of concentration and taking the wrong option defensively plus not taking their chances when they needed to.
BUXTON: 1 Myles Wright 2 Alex Wiles 3 Jamie Green 4 Ricky Ravenhill (15 Fabrice Bembo-Leta 62) 5 Joel Bembo-Leta 6 Greg Young 7 Nicky Walker (12 Niall Doran 90) 8 Spencer Harris 9 Bradley Barraclough 10 Ashley Worsfold (14 Ashley Burbeary 88) 11 George Grayson Other sub: 16 Tim Ryan
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Jason Paling 3 Ben Algar (16 Jerome Slew 53) 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Micky Harcourt 6 Craig Nelthorpe 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Needham (12 Jordan Ball 63) 9 Joel Purkiss 10 Danny Holland 11 Niall McManus Other subs: 14 Charlie Dawes 15 Liam Gaughan 17 Ashley Bartle
REFEREE: S Mather (Droylsden) ATTENDANCE: 353 BEST GLADIATOR: George Willis