Matlock Town Eagles 2
Dronfield Dynamoes 0
THE Eagles gained their just rewards for a performance in the Under 18s League Division One which, at times, showed them at their best.
Only a lack of consistency, perhaps, ultimately prevented them from scoring more in a game that was more one-sided than the scoreline might suggest.
Yet again, the unpredictable bounce of the pitch accounted for some wayward passes but gradually the midfield duo of Ben Harrison and Thomas Evans began to orchestrate proceedings with Jack Wilson particularly dominant in a central role just in front of the back four and, with 20 minutes gone, the breakthrough duly arrived.
Jack Johnson’s inch-perfect through ball fed Harrison, who in turn picked out Jacob Gunton forging into the box.
His shot was initially palmed away by the keeper, but Scott Lester, following up, made sure with a crisp finish.
Matt Marshall had to be at his sharpest to curb Dynamoes’ threat down the right wing, but was ably supported by Charlie Britner, whose positioning was exceptional.
Alongside them, Sam Boam was, as always, a model of consistency and determination.
The second and decisive goal was not long in coming. This time, it was clever interplay betweem Jack Crossley and Evans which eventually let in Gunton.
Upended unceremoniously, Dronfield could have few complaints about the ensuing penalty kick which he then duly dispatched.
Moments later, Johnson’s energy carved out a chance that just whisked past the near post. A goal would have been richly deserved.
It could have been the start of a rout but the visitors, suitably refreshed, had other ideas in the second half, threw caution to the wind and pushed forward.
Harry Westnedge in goal pulled off his first meaningful save after 60 minutes before Eagles produced, arguably, their best move of the game with a third concession for Dynamoes only avoided due to some inspired keeping. The passing which pre-empted it was, however, a joy to behold.
Reduced to ten players due to injuries, Matlock continued to press but wilted somewhat in the spring sunshine, and it was to everyone’s great relief that Stephen Moore proved to be the last-minute hero, sweeping the ball off the goalline before Dronfield could gain a consolation.
There may be stronger challenges during the run-in to the end of the season, but, at the end of this particular day, it was very much a case of ‘mission successfully accomplished’.