As far as results go, this was just what the doctor ordered for Matlock with a convincing win at relegation-threatened Colwyn Bay.
Two goals in the opening 13 minutes paved the way for an excellent victory although the hard taskmaster Mark Hume was not altogether happy with the performance.
“It was a good win but when we have teams on the rack we’ve got to kill them off and we didn’t do that until late on.” said the Gladiators’ chief.
Certainly Matlock had chances to put the game to bed when leading 2-0 and when Colwyn pulled a goal back early in the second half, the visitors then had to defend well before finally confirming their win with two late strikes.
Sheffield United loanee George Willis was soon in action superbly holding a low drive from Shaun Dowling on the drenched, greasy surface but it was Matlock who drew first blood with a superbly worked fifth-minute goal.
Niall McManus and Craig Nelthorpe comined brilliantly down the left before Nelthorpe’s low cross was swept home by Joel Purkiss.
Adam Yates headed a free-kick straight at goalkeeper Shaun Pearson who was then picking the ball out of the net for a second time in the 13th minute when a beautifully crafted move saw Laurie Wilson curl a shot into the net.
Soon afterwards Ted Cribley and Harcourt cut through the Brittle Bay defence with ease and instead of shooting, Cribley passed inside and the chance was lost.
Then Cribley fired over the bar and Purkiss fired wide before Colwyn were stung into a response.
Much-travelled striker Shaun Tuck brought the best out of Willis who brilliantly kept out his thunderbolt strike before penalty appeals were refused when Tuck went down in the box.
Tuck then blazed a shot across the penalty area before Matlock broke at pace with Nelthorpe finding Cribley with a precocious crossfield pass, Liam Needham being denied by a last-ditch challenge from Cribley’s assist.
Then McManus saw alow shot well saved by Pearson as an entertaining half from a Matlock viewpoint came to a close.
The Seagulls came out for the second half with renewed vigour and put Matlock on the defensive.
Their chance of a revival came on 56 minutes with John Marsden breaking down the right to score with a deflected shot.
Matlock immediately made a double substitution bringing on Holland and Jason Paling for Purkiss and the injured Harcourt, the latter having been taking Willis’ goalkicks for him.
To their credit Matlock stood up well to the increased pressure, defending well and looking dangerous on the break.
Holland drove at Pearson as did McManus from a Holland knock-down with Pearson then denying Cribley.
It was Cribley who made the game safe for Matlock ad in an excellent Nelthorpe centre in the 79th minute and then with four minutes left McManus ran clear to stroke home a fourth, leaving Bay manager Kevin Lynch bemoaning his side’s “schoolboy defending” afterwards.
Inbetween the goals Willis pulled off a fine save from Tuck and then in added time denied Josh Sumner in similar fashion but Matlock were home, if not completely dry from the incessant North Wales rain.
So a precious three points haul for Matlock who have some breathing space between them and the relegation zone.
Hume and his side are now looking upwards ahead of two tough Christmas fixtures, starting with Buxton’s Boxing Day visit before a trip to Ilkeston two days later.