Gladiators ease to comfortable league victory

Matlock Town v Halesowen Town
PHOTO: Steven Greenhough
Matlock Town v Halesowen Town PHOTO: Steven Greenhough

Two quick goals shortly before the interval from Michael Williams and Jake Green saw Matlock ease to a comfortable 2-0 EvoStik home win over struggling Halesowen.

It was a deserved lead for the Gladiators at half-time as Halesowen scarcely had a shot at Town goalkeeper Phil Barnes during the opening period.

After a bright start, Matlock struggled to find a breakthrough until those two strikes.

The Gladiators were able to recall Micky Harcourt and Kieron Wallace with Nico Degirolamo and Rhys Sharpe having to be content with places on the substitutes’ bench, having played in the 3-3 draw at Witton Albion seven days earlier.

The bench also contained 16-year-old Zak Brunt, who came on and put in a promising display, and Academy keeper Alfie Smith-Wccles.

Halesowen keeper Daniel Platt was soon in action, diving at Joe Doyle-Charles’ feet after a neat flick from Shaun Harrad.

Then on six minutes a promising move came to a disappointing end when Noel Burdett cut in from the left but could only fire tamely at Platt.

The Yeltz fought their way into the contest as the clear Matlock chances dried up. A long-range Green strike and an effort from Burdett were both harmlessly off target before Williams tried his luck from 25 yards and suffered a similar fate.

Platt was extended for just the second time of the half as he saved from Burdett and Platt was called into action again to keep out a Williams shot after good work by Ted Cribley on the left.

The duo combined, however, as Matlock went in front on 40 minutes.

Cribley took over from Kieron Wallace on the left and floated a delightful ball towards the far post where Williams ghosted in to nod home from close range.

Cribley played a part in Matlock doubling their lead on 42 minutes, after again finding space on the left.

His cross was cut out by Marcus Poscha who delayed his clearance, allowing Sean Harrad to rob him and unselfishly set up Green to slide a low shot just inside Platt’s right-hand post.

Matlock maintained their dominance into the second half and on 57 minutes Harrad was tripped by John McAtee.

Referee Aaron Bannister pointed straight to the spot, but assistant Mick Connell intervened and said the offence had been outside the box.

Video evidence later proved the original decision was correct.

That escape gave Halesowen a touch more belief and they finally tested Barnes as wing back Enoch Ekongu broke forward and Barnes was more than equal to the Yeltz man’s shot with a fine block.

But that was a rare moment of danger for the hosts who might have made it three when Burdett intelligently set up substitute Ricky German, whose low shot was knocked aside by Platt.

Then a timely interception from Kyle Morrison on Harrad prevented what looked to be a certain goal after the top-scorer combined neatly with Burdett.

German and Harrad both ran out of space as they looked to finish off a low ball from Wallace while German broke away on the left and curled a low shot narrowly wide.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Kieron Wallace 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Jake Green 8 Michael Williams 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Noel Burdett ( 16 Zak Brunt 77) 11 Ted Cribley (15 Ricky German 46). Other subs: 12 Nico Degirolamo 14 Rhys Sharpe 17 Alfie Smith-Eccles.

HALESOWEN TOWN: 1 Daniel Platt 2 Enoch Ekongu 3 Kyle Morrison 4 Jordan Goddard 5 Marcus Poscha 6 Bradley Lewis 7 Ivor Lawton (14 Alexander Woodhouse 12) 8 Daniel Bragoli 9 Daniel Udoh 10 John McAtee (12 Ethan Jones 61) 11 Cameron Steele (15 Glen Hayes 78). Other sub: 16 Thomas Parsons.

REFEREE: A Bannister (Pontefract).

ATTENDANCE: 342.

BEST GLADIATOR: Michael Williams.