By Ian Richardson
Ossett Albion 0-2 Matlock Town
Striking pair Lee Ellington and Joe Leesley struck in the first half as Matlock gained another impressive warm-up result on their travels.
Evo-Stik NPL First Division North side Albion were no pushovers, but the Gladiators were always in control, defending well, were industrious in midfield and were always the more dangerous of the two teams up front.
Both sides began well with the emphasis on attack with the first opening arriving in the tenth minute. Micky Harcourt, up supporting the attack from full back, could have shot but turned inside, feeding Leesley, whose cross shot was lifted over the bar by the onrushing Ellington.
The hosts responded quickly with an attack up the right, Darol Lucas’s through pass releasing Marc Thompson who drove too high while on the run.
But Matlock went ahead in the 15th minute from a right wing corner which James Lukic rose to head goalwards and fox in the box Ellington backheaded beyond goalkeeper Jody Barford.
Shortly afterwards, Ben Algar swung a cross towards the far post and Kris Bowler’s return ball found Leesley who headed straight at Barford.
Ossett, attacking up the slope, had a promising opening when Alex Booker’s centre from the right found Kurtis Noble overlapping but the left winger was called offside as he shot across the face of goal.
James Ashmore and Martin Foster linked sweetly in midfield with short crisp passing that had the hosts chasing shadows, and a fine move involving a number of Gladiators ended with Leesley finding Ellington, whose shot was charged down.
But on 37 minutes it was Ellington setting up Leesley for a superb second Matlock goal.
The new signing from Guiseley collected the ball just inside the Albion half, before finding an intelligent pass which Leesley dispatched past Barford with aplomb from 25 yards.
Within another minute, Phil Roe burst down the left with his cross bouncing dangerously across the box, just out of Leesley’s radar. Then, from a corner taken by Ashmore, the stretching Lukic found the sidenetting at the back stick.
Matlock were looking for a third and only a great fingertip over the bar from Algar’s thirty yard thunderbolt kept the score at two.
Within three minutes of the restart the promising Ellington/Leesley partnership nearly paid dividends again, the 18-year-old’s shot being deflected for a corner.Then Leesley stroked wide after his pace and power had seen him beat the last line of Albion’s rearguard.
Leesley and Bowler came off for Gareth Davies and Brad Grayson midway through the half.
Matlock lost a little penetration in the final third but Ossett created little either, apart from a volley from skipper Adam Hayton which flashed harmlessly wide.
A Lukic header was straight at Barford as another good away performance ended with Matlock in the comfort zone.
Local Football League referee Bobby Madley was forced to reach for his yellow card when Hayton was punished for a build up of fouls with Ryan Hindley being on the end of the bookable one.
Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Micky Harcourt (Will Dennis 78), Phil Roe (Kris Witcombe 80), Martin Foster (Trialist 80), Lee Featherstone, James Lukic, Kris Bowler (Gareth Davies 67), James Ashmore, Lee Ellington, Joe Leesley (Brad Grayson 67), Ben Algar (Ryan Hindley 78).
Referee: R Madley (Ossett)