MATLOCK TOWN 3-0 NORTH FERRIBY UNITED
After four games without a league win, including three draws, Matlock at last picked up maximum points on Wednesday night against a toothless North Ferriby side who suffered a sixth successive defeat.
An Ian Holmes brace sandwiched a cracker from Liam King in a deserved win, but the performance was not altogether to manager Mark Atkins’ liking.
”We were excellent in the first 45 minutes, we scored two great goals and it was a good performance because we were dangerous going forward and comfortable at the back. But we weren’t the same in the second half.
“Two or three players started doing their own thing and not what they were told, you only need one or two to do that and you have problems. I was very disappointed in the second half but very happy to take the three points, the third goal making it a fair result.”
Holmes shot tamely at goalkeeper Steve Wilson after TJ Nightingale had knocked down a Micky Harcourt pass inside the opening 30 seconds. Ben Algar, operating as a right winger in a 4-3-3 formation, with Chris Bettney out through a nose operation earlier in the day, drove high and wide from long range.
Kris Bowler, busy in midfield, released Holmes on the right, the centre forward’s cross being cut out at the expense of a corner.
Kevin Larvin flicked on a hopeful ball which nearly brought the visitors some unexpected joy on 24 minutes, but the assist dropped a foot wide of Jon Kennedy’s left hand post.
Two minutes later though, Matlock were in front as a huge clearance by Kennedy beat a static Ferriby defence. Holmes was on to it in a flash and his shot thundered over Wilson and into the roof of the net. It was a top quality finish.
The goal gave Matlock confidence with Bowler driving forward for his dangerous shot to strike a defender and out for a throw before a surge deep into the Villagers’ penalty box saw another effort deflected for an unproductive corner.
Out of the blue, Russell Fry’s crack from 25 yards had the sting reduced from it when Adam Yates got in the way, allowing Kennedy a fairly routine stop.
But the Gladiators doubled their lead five minutes before the break and again Kennedy started the move off. An intelligent throw to Algar saw the former Spireite advance up the right and his pass inside to King was inch perfect for the midfielder to strike a peach of a 25-yarder over Wilson. Bowler then had two more efforts blocked as Matlock finished the half on top.
The expected Matlock onslaught in the second half never materialised but although Ferriby had the lion’s share of the possession, the clearer chances still fell to Matlock. The hosts were guilty of sitting back, but the visitors neither had the guile nor the penetration to hurt a Matlock defence which was outstanding.
They might have been three behind on the hour when a fine Yates pass found Nightingale on the left but the former Hucknall man scuffed his shot and could only win a corner. Then another fierce King shot was headed away by Nathan Peat and James Knowles’s connection from the loose ball was faulty, but still produced another corner. The pressure ended from an umpteenth offside decision given against Matlock on the night.
A better attack saw Holmes release Nightingale, who won another corner when his shot was blocked, but on 84 minutes, the prolific Gary Bradshaw, who scored his 200th North Ferriby goal four days earlier against Hednesford, badly fluffed his lines with a weak prod wide at the back post.
A goal for Ferriby then might have forced a tense finale but it was Matlock who ended in the ascendancy. Substitute Ben Hunter danced his way past a couple of defenders before seeing Wilson beat away his near post shot, but three minutes into stoppage time, Holmes rifled a low 15-yarder across Wilson as Matlock not only gained a comfortable win, but hit more than two goals in a match for the first time this season.
Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Micky Harcourt, Ben Algar, Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Lee Featherstone, TJ Nightingale (Ben Hunter 90), Ian Holmes, Kris Bowler (James Knowles 55), Gareth Davies. Other subs: Lee Whittington, Kris Witcombe, Nick Buxton
Referee: D Midgley -Huddersfield
Star man: Adam Yates