Oscar is star performer in Town’s FA Trophy win

Ben Algar curls a goal in against Stamford on  October 22, 2011
Ben Algar curls a goal in against Stamford on October 22, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round

Matlock Town 3

Ben Hunter 38

Ben Algar 53

Oscar Radford 73

Stamford 0

Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Micky Harcourt, Lee Featherstone (Nathan Joynes 68), Liam King, Adam Yates, Oscar Radford, Ben Hunter (Chris Bettney 68), Steve Warne (James Knowles 74), Ian Holmes, TJ Nightingale, Ben Algar. Subs not used: Kris Bowler, Nick Buxton

Attendance: 299

Star man: Oscar Radford

Matlock easily progressed to the next round of the FA Trophy as visiting Stamford did their cause no good whatsoever in finishing with just nine men.

Strikers Gary King on 42 minutes and Sam Mullarkey on 74 were both sent off for fouls on Oscar Radford and Micky Harcourt respectively, but by the time Mullarkey went for his early bath, the tie was over with Matlock three goals to the good.

Steve Warne had been recalled from loan at Belper and earned an instant place with the bonus of being named captain in the continued absence of the injured James Lukic.

Ben Hunter replaced Chris Bettney for the other change to the team beaten by Northwich seven days earlier.

In a drab start, goalmouth action was sparse. Man of the match Oscar Radford showed some neat footwork to fashion a shooting chance on 12 minutes but his effort from 20 yards did not trouble goalkeeper Mario Ziccardi. TJ Nightingale, though, looked better placed had the pass been made.

Stamford were ahead on the corner count but never looked like finding the opening goal. In fact at this stage, neither side looked like scoring and it took a piece of fine individual skill to break everyone from their slumber.

Hunter cut in from the left, shaking off three challenges, before rolling a low shot beyond Ziccardi in the 38th minute. King was booked for dissent and then his afternoon came to an abrupt end four minutes later as he launched into a two-footed stamp on Radford. Referee Stuart Richardson instantly produced a straight red card.

Ziccardi then kept his side in the hunt with a fine save from Nightingale, who had been played clear by strike partner Ian Holmes.

The second half was all one-way traffic towards the Stamford goal. The visitors are third in the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South, but the gulf between the two divisions became increasingly apparent as the half wore on.

A cross shot from Hunter drifted behind and when a corner was played short, Warne drove inches wide. But the pressure was unrelenting and it told with a second Matlock goal in the 53rd minute.

Hunter played the ball intelligently across the Stamford penalty box and Ben Algar, lurking some 20 yards out, curled a tremendous effort into the top corner past Ziccardi’s right hand.

The Daniels’ goalkeeper then saved briliantly from Nightingale in a one versus one duel, with the ball then twice flashing across the face of the goal.

Holmes scrambled a shot wide from an Algar cross before the latter drove wide. It looked so easy for Matlock now with Harcourt coming within a whisker of his first Matlock goal with a 25 yarder that was inches wide of Ziccardi’s left hand upright.

Bettney and Nathan Joynes were sent on and almost immediately Holmes headed against the bar.

The third goal was well worth the wait, however, and it was the best of the lot. Radford smashed in a ferocious 20 yarder that Ziccardi scarcely saw and was probably wise not to get in the way of!

There were still 17 minutes left and Matlock could easily have added to their tally. Mullarkey produced a Rooney style kick on Harcourt to receive an early shower just a minute after Radford’s memorable strike.

King and Bettney might have scored as Matlock cruised into the next round.