Matlock Town 3 Stocksbridge PS 0
Matlock gave their fans an early season treat with three goals and a convincing victory in their first home game of the season as they quickly put Saturday’s disappointing result and performance at Trafford behind them.
A first goal in Gladiators colours for Lavell White and a brace from Daryll Thomas on his home debut saw off a Steels side who included three former Matlock players in their line up in Chris Bettney, Nathan Joynes and James Knowles.
White offered not only pace but width as both of Matlock’s first two goals came from speedy breaks down the flanks, the ex-Eastwood man running Steels ragged throughout.
After Thomas had fiercely driven a couple of yards wide following a neat move on the right, another excellent break down the same flank saw Town reap their reward on seven minutes.
Thomas released the overlapping Micky Harcourt whose great cross was met by Danny Holland’s bullet header. Steels custodian Ben Scott produced a stunning save but his defenders failed to help as White reacted quickest to nod the opener.
Steels might have levelled five minutes later but Kennedy brilliantly tipped defender Nick Swirad’s header over the bar, but that was the nearest they came throughout the contest.
Matlock responded positively as James Ashmore drove narrowly over, a Holland header met a similar fate following fine build up play involving Thomas and Harcourt, David Haggerty nodded wide and an inviting Corey Gregory free-kick was missed by everyone attacking the Stocksbridge goal in a blue shirt.
But Town doubled their lead on 22 minutes as a now typical surge down the left from Joe Leesley saw Thomas expertly flick the full-back’s teasing cross past Scott.
Stocksbridge’s threat was from set pieces and a fierce dead ball strike from winger Chris White swerved narrowly past Kennedy’s left-hand post on 38 minutes.
The lead was increased just two minutes after the restart.
Leesley’s decoy run outside of White on the left encouraged White to advance and hit a hugely deflected shot which looped up to deceive Scott who could only palm the ball down and Thomas snapped up an easy chance.
Matlock now turned on the style. White raced down the left to flash a cracking centre along the six yard area before Holland’s incisive pass sent him clear on the left to shoot a foot past the far post.
Holland went equally close from the opposite side as he led the line superbly. White faced Scott again from a cheeky back heel by Thomas only for the goalkeeper to produce a fine block which was easily bettered on 71 minutes as he diverted Harcourt’s powerful effort wide.
Substitute Alec Denton shot across the face of the goal in a rare Stocksbridge attack, Matlock having the bonus of keeping a clean sheet in the process.
Tougher tests are on the horizon but Matlock clinically swept Stocksbridge aside to record a much-needed first win of the campaign.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Lavell White 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford 7 Corey Gregory (Gareth Davies 82) 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Daryll Thomas (Anthony Griffith-Jnr 90) 11 Liam Needham Other subs: Liam Gaughan, Will Dennis, Nick Buxton
Stocksbridge: 1 Ben Scott 2 Liam Royles 3 Ben Turner 4 Nick Swirad 5 Brett Bowden-Lovell 6 Alex Callery 7 Chris Bettney 8 James Knowles 9 Danny South (Alex Denton 64) 10 Nathan Joynes 11 Chris White (John Travis 76) Other subs: Lewis Akeister, Janni Lipka
Ref: Akil Howson (Leicester) Att: 328
Star Man: Daryll Thomas
by Ian Richardson