Youngster Hunt stars on debut as Gladiators end unbeaten home run

Ricky German
Ricky German

Matlock Town’s G force grabbed the goals as an all-round team performance ended Lancaster City’s unbeaten home record.

Jake Green headed Town in front on 23 minutes and the lead was doubled by Ricky German on 68 minutes.

An 80th-minute strike from substitute Tom Kilifin meant Matlock had to survive a nervous finale, but they held out.

Youngster Max Hunt returned from a trial at West Bromwich Albion to make his EvoStik debut, replacing the sick Adam Yates, while Rhys Sharpe and German were also given starts. Latest recruit Jamie Jackson was a substitute.

Green soon caused problems with his pace and trickery on the right.

At the other end Phil Barnes did well to steal the ball off Hannu Tam after the City striker had been found by Sam Bailey. The keeper then got down brilliantly to push away Bailey’s shot.

Green broke the deadlock in style when, after starting the move on the right, he darted into the penalty box to flick a glancing header into the corner of the net from Micky Harcourt’s cross.

Wilks was forced to concede a corner from Green’s penetrating run and centre before home defender Steve Williams’ inadvertent glance from a Shaun Harrad cross extended goalkeeper Joshua Powell, who tipped the ball to safety.

Wills was booked for a foul on Sharpe as City were rattled by Matlock’s energy, although the visitors were grateful to Barnes on 38 minutes.

The veteran stopper superbly clawed away Bailey’s long shot after the Gladiators might have done better in clearing their lines.

The half concluded with a near-post Harrad header from Sharpe’s left wing corner flashing inches over the bar and Barnes comfortably taking a shot from Tam in his stride.

Matlock controlled much of the second period as central midfield duo Doyle-Charles and Michael Williams looked back to their form of last season.

When the home side did threaten Barnes, it was rebuffed by Hunt and Wiley, with the former having a most impressive debut.

Wiley nodded a 50th minute corner too high before Matlock stretched City once more, Williams found Green, whose low cross was excellently cut out by Steve Williams with German looking to pounce.

Williams was yellow carded for an out-of-control challenge on Kieran Wallace before a classic away goal doubled Town’s lead.

Williams broke at pace down the inside right channel and passed for German to fire beneath an exposed Powell.

Gladiators coach Danny Cox was sent from the dug out amidst the celebrations and joined Town fans on the terraces.

German shot too high from the edge of the box as Matlock looked to remain in control, but Kilifin’s goal gave City renewed hope.

Matlock failed to clear their lines effectively for once and the Dolly Blues’ substitute drove in from eight yards.

For the first time in the half the Gladiators looked vulnerable, surviving an 87th minute scramble from a corner and then, deep in stoppage time, Kilifin could have been City’s saviour, stretching to meet Dugdale’s low cross from the left and diverting it high over the bar.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Kieran Wallace 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Max Hunt 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Jake Green 8 Michael Williams 9 Shaun Harrad (14 Nathan Whitehead 87) 10 Ricky German (15 Jamie Jackson 90) 11 Rhys Sharpe.