Matlock Town 0-2 Nuneaton Town
National League North Nuneaton finished as comfortable winners in what was a useful workout for the Gladiators on Friday night.
The visitors fielded virtually two separate sides in each half and their full time status was apparent throughout as they looked a strong well drilled unit who should do well in their division this season.
Matlock battled hard and created a few promising openings but this proved to be a considerably more difficult task than they had faced against Mansfield two days earlier.
With Phil Barnes still laid low with a sickness bug, Nuneaton manager Kevin Wilson loaned Dean Snedker to the Gladiators for the night who were without Nico de Giralamo with a foot injury and both Ted Cribley and Nicky Travis on holiday.
The visitors started on the front foot winning a couple of corners, the second being headed harmlessly wide by Joe Ironside before at the other end, Marc Newsham and Jake Green combined well, the ball breaking for skipper Laurie Wilson to fire past Zeus de la Pas’ left hand post from twenty five yards. Newsham then shot tamely at de la Pas after neat work by Green while the hosts were nearly undone when Courtney Cameron showed trickery in the box and his low cross from the left beat everyone.
Matlock came within a lick of paint from breaking the deadlock on 20 minutes when Niall McManus cut in from the left, his low shot cannoning off a post. The a quarter of an hour later Nuneaton might have scored when Cameron curled a twenty yarder which beat the diving Snedker but also, albeit by inches, the far post.
The visitors came again for Shaq McDonald to shoot wide after an incisive pass by Cameron but they would not have long to wait for the opening goal. Matlock would be disappointed as they failed to close down BILLY DANIELS as he ran through the centre and the hosts were punished as the midfielder drove conclusively home from twenty yards.
In spite of the huge change of personnel, Nuneaton began the second half on the offensive and doubled their lead on the hour when following a move on the left, JAMES FRY’s shot from the edge of the box found the net.
To their credit the Gladiators continued to show spirit and fight and were unfortunate not to pull a goal back.
On 73 minutes Adam Yates headed down a right wing corner towards Dwayne Wiley whose instinctive low shot was superbly saved by de la Pas, but almost immediately Snedker kept the deficit down to two goals with an equally fine stop from Daniel Demkiv’s low strike.
Yates won another heading duel from a corner, Nuneaton scrambling the ball clear before Keenan Leyton’s shot was deflected over the bar and de la Pas blocked from Ben Partridge.
But Nuneaton always looked comfortable and they were deserved winners, coming close to adding a third only for Snedker to push away a Caby Bishop effort as the visitors broke at pace from a Matlock corner. .
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Dean Snedker (Jordan Pierrpoint 80) 2 Liam Marsden 3 Alex Pursehouse 4 Laurie Wilson (12 Andy Todd 57) 5 Dwayne Wiley (19 Ashley Bartle 80) 6 Adam Yates 7 Jamie Yates (14 Ryan King 46) 8 Liam Needham (16 Jack Siddall 78) 9 Marc Newsham (17 Ben Partridge 71) 10 Jake Green (15 Corey Dyer-Stewart 54) 11 Niall McManus (18 Keenan Leyton 71).
NUNEATON TOWN: First half: 1 Zeus de la Pas 2 James Clifton 3 George Grayson 4 Kristian Scott 5 Kelvin Langmead 6 Alex Penny 7 Sam Warburton 8 Billy Daniels 9 Joe Ironside 10 Courtney Cameron 11 Shaq McDonald
Second half: 1 Zeus de la Pas 2 George Cleet 3 Sam Gibson 4 Alex Fletcher 5 Jordan Wheatley 6 Elliott Hodgett-Young 12 Caby Bishop 14 Daniel Demkiv 15 Luke Shorthouse 16 Iwan Cartwright 17 James Fry
REFEREE: Tim Walker (Belper) ATTENDANCE: 146