CLIPSTONE 1-3 MATLOCK TOWN: Matlock rested a number of key players but were still too strong for their Northern Counties East League First Division hosts, and really they ought to have won by a far more emphatic margin.
It was level pegging at the break as Dave Bramwell quickly cancelled out David Haggerty’s opener before in the second period, a Lewis McMahon penalty and a Jordan Snodin strike saw Matlock home with comfort.
The Gladiators fielded a trialist at left back and Will Dennis on the other flank at the back while Snodin and Liam Gaughan played in the midfield alongside the experienced Gareth Davies and Martin Foster. Darryll Thomas and McMahon started in attack.
In a quiet opening, Haggerty saw his header cleared off the line after Davies had forced a corner from which Thomas nodded wide but when Thomas won another flag kick in the 12th minute, Haggerty rose to head the Gladiators in front.
But two minutes later carelessness just outside the Matlock penalty area saw the visitors surrender possession too cheaply leading to the equaliser, Dave Bramwell turning to beat Jon Kennedy from twenty yards.
The rest of the half was mainly Matlock in control without seriously suggesting they would capitalise on their pressure.Davies found McMahon who curled a 22nd minute effort wide before two minutes later Thomas latched on to a pass from Foster to escape down the right and shoot across the face of goal. Haggerty nearly connected with a Davies free kick ten minutes before the break but the Clipstone goalkeeper’s touch took the ball away from the Matlock number five.
Town regained the lead within four minutes of the resumption when Thomas was pushed in the back, giving McMahon his goal as he confidently tucked away the resulting penalty.
Eight minutes later it was three as McMahon’s pass set up Snodin who fired home and the scene looked set for Matlock to rack up a healthy total.
Radford was unlucky to see a fierce thirty yarder smack against a post before McMahon’s shot was pushed aside by the hosts’ custodian. Then excellent play by the trialist who looks as if he would be auseful addition if taken on,saw him release Thomas who drove narrowly wide.
Further opportunities fell to Joe Leesley twice,Anthony Griffiths-Junior and McMahon which were not taken as it was largely one way traffic towards the Clipstone goal.
Assistant boss Nick Buxton, in charge as Mark Atkins was checking on Matlock’s opening day opponents Trafford said “We could and should have had a hatful.”
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Will Dennis 3 A Trialist 4 Martin Foster 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford 7 Gareth Davies 8 Jordan Snodin 9 Darryl Thomas 10 Lewis McMahon 11 Liam Gaughan Subs used: Joe Leesley, Anthony Griffiths-Junior.