Matlock Town FC vs Mickleover FC
Matlock Town FC1
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town 1-0 Mickleover Sports
Matlock made rather hard work of securing a third successive 1-0 win but it was still enough to take them three points clear of South Shields at the top of the table.
Liam Hughes netted the decisive goal five minutes before the interval in a first half where the Gladiators should have been out of sight in this Derbyshire derby.
Mickleover, down in the bottom half of the table, sensed they could possibly steal something from the game, but lacked the necessary penetration to pierce an ultra-tight Gladiators defensive line. It was a scrappy disjointed show from Matlock after the break but they still had enough chances to have put the game to bed, but they were open to the sucker punch and were nearly embarrassed in the dying moments when the visitors missed a sitter which would have given them an unlikely point.
Home fans were given a first look at loanee Jamie Cooke who missed the FC United victory through injury having netted three times in one and a half matches beforehand. |Liam King also started with Craig King and Jesurun Uchebgulam being the men to make way.
Matlock began on the front foot forcing two successive corners, the second seeing Last Saturday’s matchwinner Ioan Evans drive high over the bar. Alex Byrne sliced wide after a neat move involving Cooke and Adam Yates tore through the visitors’ defence. John McGrath’s men were then indebted to goalkeeper Callum Hawkins, who had a loan spell at Matlock in 2017/18, for a superb flying save to claw away Byrne’s free kick.
Mickleover had been pegged back but came to life on 16 minutes when ex Derby County midfielder found room on the right to cut in and shave the outside of the goal frame from the edge of the box.
Hughes placed a first time volley into Hawkins’ hands before Mickleover had a brief flurry of opportunities, Shaun Rowley holding Mason Warren’s free kick, Matlock’s Mark Lees finding a crucial block when Andy Dales drove goalwards, the resulting corner being cleverly hoisted to the edge of the penalty box but Liam Ravenhill shot high over the top.
Byrne’s cross from the right flashed along the six yard area before Cooke pounced on a horrible mix up between Hawkins and Phil Watt, the loanee’s shot at a vacant net hitting the post and rebounding to safety.
But the pressure told when Byrne, again was provider, his cross being his 14th assist of the season as captain HUGHES scrambled the ball home from close range.
After Uchegbulam, on for Reece Kendall had fired across the face of goal, Hughes should have added to his personal and Matlock’s tally. Cooke broke through the inside right channel to fire a low shot against a post, and Hughes somehow put the loose ball wide.
Fortunately that miss did not prove costly as Matlock lost their way with Mickleover enjoying two thirds of the possession in the second period.
Cooke had an effort charged down while Byrne put a delicious inviting low centre in from the right which only needed a touch for Matlock to double their advantage.
Hughes robbed Joe Bateman deep in visiting territory to blast narrowly to high from distance. Matlock badly needed the second goal.
The hosts had penalty appeals refused when Uchebgulam’s cross from the left struck a defender’s arm but referee Declan Brown waved for play to continue. This came in a spell of Mickleover dominance with Matlock being pushed deeper and deeper. A succession of three shots were blocked by a resolute home back line but despite having lost their fluency of the opening half, Matlock still had chances.
Substitute Tyreese Onyeka kicked thin air after Bateman’s careless error before the excellent Ryan Qualter surged forward to strike a fierce thirty yarder at Hawkins. A glancing Hughes header dropped narrowly wide. Uchegbulam and Byrne were both too high when well placed before at the death Mickleover missed a gilt edged chance to grab a point, substitute Finlay Barker dragging a shot wide when looking certain to score.
But when the final whistle sounded, Matlock could reflect on another three points despite a mixed display as news filtered through of South Shields 3-0 loss at Bamber Bridge which made Town clear league leaders. The vast majority of the impressive 605 crowd went home happy.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Adam Yates 3 Reece Kendall (12 Jesurun Uchegbulam 24) 4 Ioan Evans 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Alex Wiles 9 Liam Hughes 10 Jamie Cooke (14 Tyreese Onyeka 59) 11 Liam King (17 Aram Soleman 68) Other subs: 15 Craig King 16 Kayde Coppin
MICKLEOVER FC: 1 Callum Hawkins 2 Jake Bennett 3 Alex Morris 4 Mason Warren 5 Joe Bateman 6 Phil Watt (16 Ben Lewin 46) 7 Andy Dales 8 Liam Ravenhill 9 Declan Bacon (17 Finlay Barker 85) 10 Josh Satchwell 11 Lee Holmes (15 Keny Augustien 76) Other subs: 12 Roger Lee 14 Bobby Battison
REFEREE: Declan Brown (Manchester) ATTENDANCE: 605 BEST GLADIATOR: Ryan Qualter