Lancaster City vs Matlock Town FC
Giant AxeNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town FC2
LANCASTER CITY 0-2 MATLOCK TOWN
Matlock did a thoroughly professional job to see off City thanks to goals shortly before the interval and early in the second period to open up a three point lead again at the top of the table.
Skipper Liam Hughes and Reece Kendall, returning from suspension, were the marksmen as the Gladiators won a scrappy encounter with relative ease.
Kendall replaced Jesurun Uchegbulam who was named as a substitute and there was also a recall for the masked Jamie Sharman in defence with Adam Yates missing due to family commitments.
Clear cut chances were sparse at the beginning, Alex Wiles seeing an effort cut out by goalkeeper Aiden Dowling and after Mark Lees fired wide, the referee brought play back for a free kick a couple of yards outside the penalty box, Kendall’s strike being comfortably blocked.
Lancaster grew into the game and Matlock had a big scare on 26 minutes, Sharman being ideally situated to boot clear a goalbound header from Dolly Blues’ skipper Andy Teague following a right wing corner.
Shaun Rowley held a shot from Christian Sloan as Matlock huffed and puffed, assistant manager Dave Wild admitting that the Gladiators’ first half performance had not met the standards expected from them.
But they had the added bonus of an interval lead as Alex Byrne’s deflected cross caused havoc between Teague and Dowling and it left HUGHES to place the most straightforward of headers into the net with 41 minutes on the clock.
Another opportunity came Matlock’s way on the stroke of half time, Jamie Cooke breaking clear and his attempted header over the advancing Dowling was caught by the goalkeeper.
The Gladiators looked more businesslike after the half time discussions and they made the perfect start to the new half by doubling their advantage within eight minutes.
Byrne, who again got through a tremendous amount of graft, crossed from the right finding KENDALL who netted with a right footed volley precisely into the corner.
A fine defensive header from Sharman cleared any danger from a Sloan free kick as Lancaster sought an early way back into contention, Kendall then doing likewise when Paul Dawson had sneaked in behind the visiting rearguard.
In a swift Matlock breakaway, Cooke sliced horribly wide when well placed before Hughes fired inches wide at the far post from another Byrne cross.
Matlock utilised all three of their permitted substitutes and two of them might have found the target in relatively quick succession, Uchegbulam in a penetrating run cutting inside to fire high over the bar and Matty Sargent also clearing the bar after more good approach play by Uchegbulam.
Teague and Hughes went into the referee’s notebook after Hughes was fouled on the right, the Matlock skipper will now sit out next weekend’s FA Trophy clash with AFC Rushden and Diamonds with this yellow card being his fifth of the campaign.
Rowley was equal to a shot from City substitute JBrandon Lonsdale while Nathan Reid’s bicycle kick dropped harmlessly on top of the net and Rowley comfortably caught a Teague header, Matlock generally keeping the men in blue at arms length.
All in all it was a good afternoon’s graft from Matlock who once again this term, have responded ipositively to a defeat. Their conquerors last weekend, South Shields, were beaten at home by Buxton, the Bucks being seven points behind the Gladiators having played three fewer matches.
LANCASTER CITY: 1 Aiden Dowling 2 Sam Bailey 3 Liam Brockbank (12 Ben Anderson 76) 4 Ben Hudson (15 Brandon Lonsdale 60) 5 Andy Teague 6 Glenn Steel 7 Christian Sloan 8 Niall Cowperthwaite 9 Nathan Reid 10 Paul Dawson 11 Robert Wilson (14 Jacob Holland-Wilkinson 60) Other subs: 13 Matthew Alexander 16 Ryan Graham
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Reece Kendall 4 Ioan Evans 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Alex Wiles (15 Liam King 64) 9 Liam Hughes 10 Jamie Cooke (17 Jesurun Uchegbulam 72) 11 Callum Chippendale (14 Matty Sargent 76) Other subs: 12 Jerome Greaves 16 Craig King
REFEREE: Jordan Crossley (Littleborough) ATTENDANCE: 299 BEST GLADIATOR: Jamie Sharman