Matlock Town paid for basic errors as their NCEL Premier Division Handsworth Parramore hosts comfortably won Saturday’s friendly 4-1 at Sandy Lane.
The Gladiators fielded a number of trialists, especially in a disjointed second half, when Parramore took advantage of the lack of understanding in the Matlock ranks to put the Gladiators completely out of the picture.
Two former Gladiators featured for the Parras, midfielder Gareth Davies who used the ball economically but efficiently and Simon Harrison, who was left unmarked to head past Ryan Pugh in only the third minute.
It was a poor goal to concede and the same could be said for the hosts’ second and third strikes as Matlock’s pain was largely self-inflicted.
Matlock might have done better at the other end early in the game as they could easily have scored three times in the opening 13 minutes.
Joel Purkiss missed two great chances, lobbing wide with only goalkeeper Dave Ratcliffe to beat, and then taking too long when clear, allowing Richard Adams to make a fine saving tackle.
It was third time lucky for him in the 13th minute, however, as he latched on to a cute through pass from surprise inclusion, winger Ben Algar, to draw Ratcliffe and slot calmly home.
Parity lasted just five minutes as Pugh flapped at a corner from the right, leaving Adams with a simple tap-in.
Play was then scrappy for a while with Harrison firing wide for Parras and Algar slicing a first time effort comfortably off target.
Parras deserved their win for their second half display and a third goal on 57 minutes left Matlock with a lot to do.
Again Pugh might have done better, as he was rooted to the spot as Kyle Lilley flicked a header beyond him, although fault lay elsewhere for the fourth goal as Lee Rippon ran from deep to shoot low past Pugh to complete the scoring by the 69th minute.
Pre-season games are there for trying different ideas and players, but the performance had to be ranked as disappointing, leaving fans reflecting their relief that the season had not started.