by Ian Richardson
Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Matlock Town 4
Chris Bettney 32
Nathan Joynes 36, 38, 65
Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Micky Harcourt, Oscar Radford, Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Chris Bettney (Kris Bowler 79), Nathan Joynes ( T J Nightingale 76), Ian Holmes, Gareth Davies, (Ben Hunter 86), Ben Algar. Other subs: James Knowles, Nick Buxton
Referee: L Watson - Barnsley
Star man: Nathan Joynes
Nathan Joynes’s first Matlock hat-trick was the icing on a very tasty cake as the Gladiators thrashed table topping Chorley with a fine all-round team display.
It was just what manager Mark Atkins had demanded and was probably expecting.
“The standard had been set against Hinckley and the lads knew that. Today, they did everything we asked of them and showed just what they’re capable of,” he reflected.
Some slight tinkering of his line-up saw Atkins bring in Oscar Radford at full back on a month’s loan from Doncaster Rovers. Ben Algar played on the left flank with Joynes partnering Ian Holmes in attack.
The opening exchanges were even and Chorley were given no hint of the carnage to come their way. Algar cut in from the left to fire firmly at goalkeeper Russ Saunders in the fifth minute.
Chorley’s response was to win a corner which James Lukic headed out and Steve Flitcroft, brother of manager Gary, saw his follow-up effort charged down. Gareth Davies then did likewise to stop a shot from Andy Teague.
Liam King’s drive was deflected wide, the referee amazing everyone with the award of a goal kick, before on 27 minutes a marvellously struck free kick from Chris Bettney flashed inches past Saunders’ right hand post.
Matlock were starting to boss the midfield, but from their one slack moment of the afternoon, Shelton Payne broke and shot a yard wide from the edge of the area.
Bettney had better luck just four minutes later. Having swapped wings with Algar, King found him on the left, some 25 yards out. The winger cut in to shoot deliciously into the opposite corner. The diving Saunders didn’t have a prayer.
Bettney was at the heart of the move which saw Town double their lead in the 36th minute.
He took a free kick quickly and found Joynes with his usual unerring accuracy. The finish was masterful as Joynes sweetly volleyed in.
Payne looked to meet a cross from Adam Roscoe at the back post but King summed up Matlock’s industrious performance perfectly with a fine intercepting header.
Lukic nearly made it three as his power-packed header from Bettney’s 42nd minute corner was only a fraction wide before the captain, Adam Yates and Joynes all ensured Chorley would not claim an undeserved goal with fine covering work.
Matlock could be well pleased with their work thus far. Now it was a case of continuing in the same vein and their cause was boosted just three minutes into the new half.
A finely tuned build-up came to a thrilling climax as Micky Harcourt found Joynes, who turned sweetly to fire into the opposite corner.
Chorley rallied without ever suggesting a miraculous comeback. Kennedy pushed out a long distance attempt from Tom Ince and, following a corner, Dale Whitham sliced horribly wide, but more pain was just around the corner for the league leaders.
Algar found Joynes, who had far too much time and space to fire clinically beyond Saunders with 25 minutes to go.
A Bettney free-kick fizzed dangerously close to Saunders’s left-hand upright and Ian Holmes was equally close to finding the target before Joynes came off, after being harshly booked under the totting up procedure, for backing into a defender.
He was sensibly substituted and, having had his best game in a Matlock shirt, was afforded huge applause.
There was also the bonus of a clean sheet to go with the convincing win as the Gladiators defended well as a team and, as the game came to a conclusion, Matlock always looked likely to add to their tally.
The fans inevitably asked “can we play you every week?” as they celebrated Matlock’s best performance of the season and for some time.