Matlock Town 2-0 Stafford Rangers
Goals in each half from Tyrell Waite and top scorer Shaun Harrad gave Matlock a deserved victory in a mid table battle against a Rangers side who finished the contest with ten men following the 75th minute dismissal of midfielder Richard Batchelor.
By that point though the Gladiators were comfortably in control and apart from the opening exchanges when Stafford looked the more likely side, there were few alarms for the hosts.
But despite Stafford looking sharp early on, it was Matlock who could have been in front. A good move instigated by Micky Harcourt released Waite who shot wide and then fantastic improvisation from Harrad on 11 minutes when he controlled a Dwayne Wiley ball superbly saw him loft an excellent effort against the bar with goalkeeper Adam Whitehouse well beaten.
Two minutes later though the Gladiators drew first blood, this time Kieron Wallace was the creator with a magnificent through pass along the ground which WAITE tucked away with aplomb.
Whitehouse then saved well from Harrad as Matlock, with the wind in their favour attacking the Town End, were dominant.
All Stafford had to show for their efforts in the first half was a shot from former Gladiator Niall Flint which was high over the bar and Phil Barnes having to punch clear with his defenders completing the mopping up operation by blocking Kieran Morris’ follow up.
Matlock threatened further as Jake Green fired over the bar as Matlock broke quickly. Ted Cribley twisted and turned on the left to cross for Waite who headed over as a very satisfactory half for the hosts ended with them having a narrow lead.
Matlock had a purple patch at the start of the second period and only a great save by Whitehouse from Waite prevented them from doubling their advantage inside the opening minute. Whitehouse was called into action again soon afterwards to keep out a well struck shot from man of the match Wallace who was dictating proceedings in midfield. Then it was a hat-trick of second half stops by Whitehouse in the 52 nd minute as Cribley and Waite combined to set up Harrad who was thwarted by the Rangers custodian.
But Whitehouse could not prevent the deserved second goal for Matlock on 56 minutes. Cribley clipped a pass out to Harcourt on the right whose cross was nodded back by Michael Williams for HARRAD to convert easily for a beautifully constructed goal.
Rangers made a hat-trick of substitutions but the moves had little effect as Matlock looked in no mood to relinquish their grip on the match. Everyone in a blue shirt worked hard as Barnes was not seriously troubled.
Frustration grew for the visitors and it became too much for Batchelor who elbowed Adam Yates off the ball leaving the Matlock captain in a heap in the home penalty area. Assistant Neil Richardson saw the offence and referee Andrew Smith dished out a deserved red card to Batchelor to make Stafford’s tsk even more difficult than it already was.
A groggy Yates lasted another six minutes before being replaced by Nico Degirolamo.
A good result from a good all round performance was just what Matlock needed as they built on the previous weekend’s victory at Marine.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Jake Green 4 Kieron Wallace 5 Adam Yates (12 Nico Degirolamo 81) 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Rhys Sharpe 8 Michael Williams 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Tyrell Waite 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 14 Joe Doyle-Charles 15 Nathan Whitehead 16 Ethan Knowles
STAFFORD RANGERS: 1 Adam Whitehouse 2 Sam Griffiths 3 Kai Davis 4Kieron Morris 5 Mat Bailey 6 Josh Craddock 7 Niall Flint (12 Joseph Thomas 57) 8 Jack Sherratt (16 Alex Fletcher 68) 9 Richard Gregory (14 Louis Briscoe 71) 10 Isak Reid 11 Richard Batchelor Other subs: 15 Osebi Abadaki 17 Jack Langston
REFEREE: A Smith (Castleford) ATTENDANCE: 439 BEST GLADIATOR: Kieron Wallace