Liversedge FC vs Matlock Town FC
Clayborn StadiumNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town FC2
LIVERSEDGE 0-2 MATLOCK TOWN
The Gladiators kept their admittedly slim play off hopes alive with this hard fought victory at struggling Liversedge, a result which makes the Yorkshire side’s plight near the bottom all the more difficult.
Goals in each half from captain Adam Yates and a first in Matlock colours for striker Reece Styche sealed the win in a game that was never going to be a classic on a pudding of a pitch where the flow of the ball simply died in heavy conditions.
With Gainsborough, Warrington Town, Radcliffe, Hyde and Marine all dropping points, maybe there is a little window of opportunity for the Gladiators?
The team news saw Al Byrne make his 100th Matlock appearance with Brad Wells also in the starting line up after suffering injuries before the Gladiators’ enforced two weeks break and Karl Demidh and Dan Bradley on the bench.
Matlock controlled large parts of the first half at the Clayborn Stadium but then had to survive a barrage of attacks from the hosts before they clinically broke their opponents’ hearts with a neat breakaway goal to seal the three points.
Town made the positive start that manager Martin Carruthers would have wanted, forcing three early corners but they were being let down by a poor final pass which was making life easier than it probably should have been for Sedge.
There was a dearth of chances in the opening exchanges, Liversedge slowly growing into the game as the half progressed. Joe Walton saw a strike well blocked after his strike partner Nathan Cartman had shown neat footwork on the left before Connor Smythe saw his well struck effort comfortably saved by visiting goalkeeper Saul Deeney.
But the best chance fell to Wells in the 28th minute as a long ball stretched the home defence giving Wells a clear sight of goal but goalkeeper Alex Petrovic pulled off a fine save low to his left to enable the scoresheet to remain blank.
But Matlock would not be denied and the opportunity for Wells gave them added momentum before they broke the deadlock seven minutes before half time.
Sedge had already survived a scramble in the box which saw the ball hacked off the line but John Johnston retrieved possession on the right to lift an enticing cross into the danger area which saw YATES leap to head gleefully home.
The hosts looked for a quick reply but when Deeney saved well from Walton, the offside flag had been raised so Matlock went in for their half time refreshment deservedly in front.
Ioan Evans was forced off with an injury with Bradley coming on.
Liversedge certainly made a spirited fight of it as Matlock were being pushed back on the defensive mode. Smythe shot wide from distance and as the pressure intensified, Jamie
Sharman sliced a corner behind for a second flag kick as Matlock needed their concentration levels to be at top level.
They had a big escape on 63 minutes when from a free kick on the left, Ben Atkinson shook the bar with a fierce six yard finish when probably he should have scored. This was followed by Deeney saving well from Walton and substitute Jack Carr skying a ten yards effort too high.
In retaliation Matlock came close to doubling their lead midway through the half with Byrne, Ethan Cartwright and Demidh all involved in a slick move which saw Styche head narrowly over the bar.
Defender Danny Ellis headed over the bar with fourteen minutes remaining before Matlock added the killer second and had further chances to make the scoreline look more emphatic.
As the clock passed the 80th minute, Matlock broke at pace for Byrne to slide in Demidh down the right who unselfishly squared for STYCHE to slide his shot under the dive of Petrovic.
Petrovic then was off his line swiftly to deny Styche before he excelled further with a fine save from Demidh who had this time been found by Styche. A stretching foot stopped a Johnston cross from reaching an unmarked Styche and another Johnston cross was a touch too far ahead of the onrushing Demidh at the back post.
Smythe shot comfortably wide for Sedge in the dying embers but Matlock had done the job they had come to do, an away win, their first victory in six outings and a clean sheet.
There were a lot of good battling performances all over the pitch with Yates proving to be the inspiration with a true captain’s display.
LIVERSEDGE: 1 Alex Petrovic 2 Casey Stewart 3 George Smith 4 George Proctor( 17 Jack Carr 60) 5 Danny Ellis 6 Kurt Harris 7 Connor Smythe 8 Jack Stockdill 9 Joe Walton 10 Nathan Cartman ( 16 Connor Falls 87) 11 Ben Atkinson ( 15 Michael Stone 86) Other subs: 12 Josh Barrett 14 Jack Hardacre
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Saul Deeney 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Robbie McNicholas 4 Brad Abbott 5 Adam Yates 6 Ioan Evans (14 Dan Bradley 46) 7 Al Byrne 8 Ethan Cartwright (15 Alex Duhameau 81) 9 Reece styche 10 Bradley Wells (12 Karl Demidh 65) 11 John Johnston Other subs: 16 Harry Wakefield 17 Jim Pollard
REFEREE: Glen Hart (Darlington) ATTENDANCE: 346 BEST GLADIATOR: Adam Yates