Hednesford Town 2
Matlock Town 0
by Ian Richardson
Two first-half set pieces gave Hednesford a comfortable and deserved victory over the Gladiators in the visitors’ third pre-season friendly at Keys Park on Tuesday night.
The dye was soon cast with Hednesford assuming control early on, keeper Jon Kennedy denying Aaron Rey before Kris Taylor with a free-kick and Rey again went close.
Another Taylor free-kick was superbly tipped on to a post by Kennedy and Neil Harvey scuffed a good chance wide on 15 minutes, beforethe lead came on 27 minutes when Francino Francis powerfully headed home from a corner.
Four minutes before the break, Elliott Durrell doubled the lead with a magnificently-curled free-kick.
Matlock introduced James Ashmore, Danny Holland and trialist Liam Needham at half-time and from then on looked a more solid unit.
Lewis McMahon fired wide on 51 minutes, but the Pitmen won three corners on the trot after Adam Yates had cleared a Durrell free-kick before he denied the midfielder again with a fine challenge.
Another ambitious McMahon effort was wide late on, but ultimately the Conference North side had done enough to earn the win.
The result was perhaps predictable but Matlock boss Mark Atkins will have learned a lot from the game.
Matlock: Kennedy, Yates, Leesley, M Foster, Haggerty, Radford, Gregory, Davies, Riciardi, McMahon, White. Subs used: Ashmore, Holland, Needham, Griffith-Jnr, Snodin, Gaughan.