Evo-Stik Premier Division
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Neil Harvey 31
Jamie Rainford 47
Matlock Town 4
Nathan Joynes 20
Ross Hannah 38, 79, 83
Matlock Town: Adam Sollitt, Ben Turner (Kris Witcombe 38), Ben Algar, Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Gareth Davies, Steve Warne, Anthony Wilson, Ross Hannah, Nathan Joynes (James Knowles 81) Other subs: Dene Cropper, Lee Morris.
Referee: B Lamb – Eccles
Star Man: Ross Hannah
Ross Hannah again took centre stage with a hat-trick that took him past a century of goals in Matlock colours, as Town leapfrogged both the Mariners and Colwyn Bay to go second after this excellent victory at the Arriva Stadium.
Hannah now has 42 this season and won the battle of the hotshots with Marine’s Jamie Rainford by three to one, but, more importantly, it gave Town their second win on the road against fellow play-off rivals in four days.
Having won at Colwyn Bay in midweek, the Gladiators were forced into one change with Nick Buxton declared unfit, so Adam Sollitt returned in goal. Ben Algar was making his final appearance before jetting out to join FC New York.
Matlock drew first blood in the 20th minute when a poor clearing header from Thomas Moore dropped to Joynes, who fired a low shot past McMahon. Marine’s spirited response brought the best out of Sollitt, who gathered a fierce Ian Latham strike at the second attempt before pulling off a marvellous save to tip a John Shaw header against the bar. Sollitt made another fine stop but it proved in vain when, on 31 minutes, he blocked a Latham header but Neil Harvey was on hand to score from the rebound.
Harvey came close with a shot which only just beat the far post, but Matlock nearly regained the lead when McMahon produced a top-class save to keep out a Joynes header, blazing over.
Matlock went in front on 38 minutes as Hannah outpaced a pedestrian Mariners central defensive pairing to shoot comfortably past McMahon.
Matlock would have been looking for consolidation or better at the start of the second half, but those hopes were dashed inside two minutes when Rainford was left free at the back post to volley powerfully past Sollitt.
Alan Burton went close with a header, but Matlock recovered well and carved out a succession of chances.
Hannah was through again, only to see his shot rebound off the foot of the post with Anthony Wilson, as much of a handful as Hannah, seeing his follow-up blocked.
But Hannah and Matlock would not be denied. On 79 minutes, he was through again and made no mistake, slipping his shot easily past McMahon for his 100th Matlock goal. His obvious joy saw him celebrate with the travelling Town fans – and his reward? A yellow card, despite his shirt being firmly on his body. The authorities must start to take a more sensible view of goal celebrations.
100 goals quickly became 101 when on 83 minutes, he was free again. This time the finish was sublime with a cracking shot in off a post.
This was a cracking win to bring an end to an unblemished February in which Matlock won all their games. If they maintain this level of performance, and results, they will be participating in those end-of-season play-offs.