Gladiators match report: Matlock Town 1 Worksop Town 5

Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager
Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager

A tired Matlock side battled on until the end but Worksop proved to be far too strong to record a convincing league double over the hosts, having beaten them 6-1 at Sandy Lane in December.

Midfielder Steve Towers hit a hat-trick for the Tigers, with giant centre forward Tom Denton and substitute Lee Potts adding the others.

Reserve striker Dave Edge emerged from the bench to give Matlock a glimmer of hope to pull the scoreline back to 2-1 early in the second period.

Then at the death a flare up involving birthday boy Lewis McMahon and Worksop defender Kern Miller saw both players sent off, which seemed unnecessary given that the game by then was over.

At the same time Joe Leesley collapsed on the pitch when his knee gave way under him and was helped off.

The Gladiators gave a debut to 16-year-olds local goalkeeper Myles Wright and included another Matlock youngster James Travis at full back.

With Massiah McDonald not given permission by his former club to play against them as part of the transfer deal which brought him to Matlock, Leesley partnered McMahon in attack. The substitutes bench was made up entirely of reserve team players.

Worksop, who included Phil Roe, who joined them from Matlock in January, drew first blood when Towers blasted in firmly from twenty yards on nine minutes, Wright being given no chance with the power of the shot.

But Matlock might have levelled three minutes later when Ben Algar cut in from the right to have a clear aim at goal but his tame finish was easily gathered by veteran Worksop custodian Paul Bastock.

The next twenty minutes saw Matlock give as good as they got with little in terms of goalmouth action. It took until the half hour for a worthwhile attempt at goal to arrive as Wright held a low shot by winger Craig King.

Matlock had plenty of possession but no cutting edge. Algar was brought down on the edge of the box but Leesley’s free kick and McMahon’s follow up were both blocked.

Matty Young blazed a Roe cross over the bar on 41 minutes but in the next minute Worksop doubled their lead as 6’5” Denton powered a header through Wright to finish a move from the left.

In a late bid to reduce their deficit before the break, McMahon and Lavelle White looked to force in a cross from Algar but skipper Stuart Ludlam cleared over his own bar for an unproductive corner.

White. like Martin Foster, James Ashmore and Adam Yates, was carrying an injury and was withdrawn for Edge at the interval.

A fine interception by Ryan Clarke to rob Leesley earned Matlock a corner from which eventually Adam Yates headed over after Foster’s deflected shot looped up in the air.

But Edge scored a debut goal with his head on 54 minutes after Bastock misjudged the flight of Ashmore’s corner from the left.

Any hopes of a recovery from Matlock though were soon blown away. Ten minutes afterwards King beat Travis on the right to cross for Denton to nod back at the far post to feed the onrushing TOWERS who headed the bouncing ball firmly into the corner.

Full back Clarke scampered down the right to centre low across the six yard box as Matlock began to suffer both mentally and physically.

Algar’s 25-yarder cleared the bar but it was four for the Tigers on 71 minutes with winger King again doing the spadework, his cross finding Towers to shoot home from ten yards.

Plucky Matlock might have reduced their arrears and Travis might have registered his first senior goal with a blistering shot which brought out a tremendous diving save from Bastock, but the Tigers completed their nap hand with ten minutes to go when from a throw by Roe on the left, Denton cleverly nodded the ball to Potts whose clinical finish beat Wright.

Then came the sendings off which will cost McMahon and Miller suspensions at the start of next season to bring an unsavoury end to Matlock’s home campaign which started with five goals being conceded to Nantwich on the opening day and saw another five shipped in their final home outing.

There was a degree of satisfaction here though in spite of the heavy defeat. Well beaten but not disgraced, it was a game in the scheme of things though that Matlock didn’t need.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Myles Wright 2 Gareth Davies (16 Dominic Whitham 66) 3 James Travis 4 Martin Foster 5 Adam Yates 6 Oscar Radford 7 Ben Algar 8 James Ashmore 9 Joe Leesley (12 Matt Wilkinson 90) 10 Lewis McMahon 11 Lavelle White (14 Dave Edge 46) Other subs: 15 Tom Laister 17 Matt Leese

WORKSOP TOWN: 1 Paul Bastock 2 Ryan Clarke 3 Phil Roe 4 Matty Young 5 Stuart Ludlam 6 Kern Miller 7 Craig King (Jack Dean 77) 8 Steve Towers 9 Tom Denton 10 Nathan Modest (12 Lee Potts 71) 11 Cecil Nyoni (15 Ashley Jackson 82) Other subs: 14 Jack Dean

REFEREE: J Hull--Stockport

ATTENDANCE: 300

STAR GLADIATOR: Martin Foster