Matlock Town 2-1 Belper Town – Caroline Melbourne Memorial Cup – 4/8/17
The Gladiators finished their pre season in style by lifting the Caroline Melbourne Cup after a narrow victory over local rivals Belper Town.
It would be the Nailers who would have the first meaningful attack of the game as a teasing cross bobbled across the box finding Graves but Matlock’s man between the sticks Barnes was quick to come off his line and perform clean up duties.
Matlock would quickly launch two attacks the first resulting in a daisy cutter shot from the edge of the area by Sharpe followed minutes later by Green launching a ball into the box that Harrad would chest down but his shot would be snatched at and go high and wide.
As the first half entered the twenty-minute mark, a scramble in the Gladiators box would see the ball fall to Harris who would turn his man and hit a curling shot against the right-hand post before it trickled out of danger much to the relief of the majority of the two hundred and three crowd in the DCJ Group Insurance Arena.
It took until the forty-third minute for the deadlock to be broken as a quick thought out long throw from Sharpe would find the head of HARRAD who looped a header into the bottom corner as the Blues went into the break with the lead.
HT – Matlock Town 1-0 Belper Town –
Hopkins and Kirkwood’s men would start the second half the better of the two sides as quick thinking by new boy Hakeem to find Bailey King on the right hand side of the box as the pacy winger cut in and shot at Low in the Nailers goal who would then go on to make an even better save moments later with Bailey King winning the ball back on the wing and side footing a scrumptious driven low ball into the box which would find the on running Harrad who made good contact with the ball but once more the Nailers keeper was equal making the save with his legs.
Belper warmed into the second half showing a desire to attack when Browne hit a low driven shot with some power behind it but Barnes was equal to the challenge and shovelled the ball into his arms.
Matlock’s usual man on the wing Cribley playing a more central position for today’s game would win a free kick on the right-hand side of the wing and put in a ball that curled majestically on to the head of the Gladiators residential man mountain WILEY who made no mistake with a cannon header beyond Low from around the penalty spot in the sixty eighth minute of proceedings.
The Nailers weren’t prepared to take defeat laying down and following several crosses into the blues box that was hacked away only to find another man in yellow, a cross to the front post by Steadman would find GRAVES who headed home from close range as we lapsed into the seventy-eighth minute of the match.
The game was not finished there, buoyed by their goal, Belper streamed forward once more launching two palm stinging assaults at the Matlock goal with Constable forcing Barnes into a smart save after the ball rebounded to him from the first initial shot.
The final whistle would see the game draw to a close and the Caroline Melbourne Memorial Cup make its way into the Gladiators trophy cabinet but after an interesting pre season that was all about fitness and game time, hearts and minds now turn to the real thing as the new season kicks off on Sunday 13th August with a trip to Stourbridge FC in nine days time.
FT – Matlock Town 2-1 Belper Town
Matlock Town – Barnes, Wilson, Green (Coleman 46), Doyle-Charles, Todd (Hunt 75), Wiley, Bailey-King, Cribley (Carvell 78), Harrad (Newsham 55), Hakeem, Sharpe (Wood 46) – Subs not used: DeGirolamo
Belper Town – Low, Hunt, Butcher (Weston 58), Graves, Thornberry, Dennis, Goddard (Constanble 30), Barr-Roston, Harris (Clarke 64), Browne, Steadman – Subs not used: Bullock, Rathbone