Belper Town vs Matlock Town FC
Raygar StadiumPre Season Friendly
Matlock Town FC3
Belper Town 1-3 Matlock Town
The performance at the Raygar Stadium was just what manager Martin Carruthers would have been looking for as his Gladiators convincingly won their final pre season friendly against their NPL Eastern Division hosts.
Although Belper had their moments, they didn’t provide enough of them as they rarely looked like repeating wins against two more sides at Matlock’s Step 3 level in Ilkeston Town and Long Eaton United.
The visitors took a firm grip on the contest ion the first half, being two goals in front by half time thanks to twin strikers Jonny Margetts and Reece Styche finding the target and although Curtis Burrows halved the deficit midway through the second period, substitute Nat Crofts made sure that Matlock would retain the Caroline Melbourne Cup with a third soon afterwards.
The Matlock line up looked as if it would be the one to start the season next weekend against Bamber Bridge excepting Ioan Evans who is away on holiday but will return in time for the big kick off.
MARGETTS struck first against one of his former clubs in the 7th minute, stabbing in a loose ball from six yards after a Robbie McNicholas cross from the right dropped to Archie White whose shot was blocked to provide Margetts with a chance that he simply gobbled up with glee.
Six minutes later Margetts was nearly in again, a clever pass from Styche being cut out desperately by a Nailers defender to concede a fruitless corner.
Kevin Bastos looked to be Belper’s main hope, a jinking run across the Matlock box from the left being ended by him being crowded out by a resilient Matlock defence.
A Danny South header looped on to the top of the net before Cameron Johnson cut in from the left but fired straight at the well placed Saul Deeney.
Matlock though always looked the more dangerous and in a good spell clever footwork from Archie White enabled the winger to fire goalwards, Belper goalkeeper Jay Rabone saving with his feet, the ball rearing up awkwardly to Margetts who could only knock the second attempt wide. Rabone then pushed a great strike from Margetts over the bar but the pressure was maintained and with Belper looking for an offside flag, STYCHE took full advantage to convert Joe West’s through pass with a clam finish beyond Rabone on 29 minutes.
Another run from the willing Bastos ended with a shot beyond the far post as Belper desperately needed a response but Matlock remained in control, Rabone holding a first time strike from Margetts before on the stroke of half time White cut in to the box and fired against the base of a post with Rabone beaten.
Matlock started the new half well with John Johnston firing narrowly too high before Styche latched on to a long clearance but under pressure, he sliced his effort off target.
Bastos again took on the Matlock defence to shoot wide and a header from Phil Watt was a little too high, these Belper attempts sandwiching another effort by Margetts that was directly at Rabone.
Belper were back in the game when Saul Deeney was booked for handling outside the box and from the free kick, BURROWS arrowed the ball low into the corner.
But Belper’s hopes of a recovery lasted barely six minutes as Margetts broke down the left , his low cross finding substitute CROFTS who sidestepped a defender to shoot clinically home.
It dissipated any remaining Belper threat as Matlock comfortably saw out the game to leave them in good spirits for the season ahead.
BELPER TOWN: 1 Jay Rabone 2 Luke Martin 3 Ben Rhodes 4 Declan Dunn 5 Danny South 6 Phil Watt 7 Kevin Bastos 8 Curtis Burrows 9 Cameron Johnson 10 Alex Troke 11 James Cadman Subs: 12 Rio Molyneaux 14 Ben Algar 15 Toby Gregory 16 Lewis Austin 17 Mason Warren 18 Anthony Mackie 19 Adam Bessadi
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Saul Deeney 2 Robbie McNicholas 3 Joe West 4 Andrew Wright 5 Jamie Sharman (16 Nat Crofts 64) 6 Trialist 7 John Johnston 8 Olly Clark 9 Reece Styche (12 Harry Wakefield 76) 10 Jonny Margetts (14 Karl Demidh 76) 11 Archie White (15 Ewan Catt 79) Other subs: 17 Myles Wright 18 Trialist GK
Referee: Harry Jones Attendance: 484