Town come through a tough test

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Evo-Stik League Premier Division

Hednesford 1

Gary Hay 5

Matlock Town 1

Liam King 38

Matlock Town: Kennedy, Harcourt, Algar, King, Yates, Lukic, Bettney, Nightingale, Holmes, Bowler, Davies Subs – Knowles, Whittington, Featherstone, Warne, Buxton

Attendance: 463

Star Man: James Lukic

Matlock Town came away from Keys Park on Tuesday night with a hard-earned point from their second encounter against a top four side in the space of four days.

The only change to the Gladiators’ starting line-up from Saturday’s game saw TJ Nightingale back in the team in place of James Knowles, who was on the bench.

The early pressure came from the hosts and they took the lead after just five minutes.

New signing Gary Hay met a cross from Campion to head home the opener at the far post.

The Gladiators rallied to get back into the game, Liam King going close from a corner, but this effort finished just over the bar.

Matlock were struggling to keep hold of the ball as the hosts looked to add to their lead, and midway through the first half a backpass to Kennedy was not dealt with altogether comfortably, but thankfully for Matlock the danger was eliminated and the ball was cleared.

The visitors looked to reduce the deficit before the half-time break, and began to build some pressure of their own.

A free-kick in a good position was dealt with by Hednesford’s rearguard, but Matlock got the reward for their pressure on 38 minutes following a stroke of luck.

Liam King’s strike took a sizable deflection en route to goal off a Pitmen defender, and home goalkeeper Dan Crane could do nothing to prevent the goal that saw Matlock draw level.

The second period started with some end-to-end action and Hednesford were closest when Hay’s shot came back off the post.

At the other end, Matlock won a corner, but no pressure was put on the hosts as the cross went straight out for a goalkick.

Hednesford made all three substitutions midway through the second period to freshen things up, and a curled effort nearly got them back in front after 71 minutes but the strike went just over.

Matlock too made a changes as Warne came on to replace Bettney.

The Gladiators were looking more assured now and more than holding their own, dealing with whatever were able to create and increasingly looking the stronger side.

Knowles came on to replace Nightingale with five minutes remaining, but it was the defence that was called upon next to deny Quinn.

Neither side was able to add to the goal tally although Kennedy did well right at the death with a late save to deny Robinson and secure a share of the points that Matlock’s impressive efforts fully deserved.