Good start to the year

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Matlock Baileans 2nd X1 4

Belper 2nd X1 1

Matlock came roaring out of the blocks after a month’s break.

The friendly match was against a Belper side struggling at the wrong end of the league above Matlock. Frankie Price and Sarah Joyce were far too quick and skilful as Matlock dominated play in the early stages. Matlock took the lead from a short corner when a direct shot from Rachel Moor took a slight deflection into the goals. It was nothing more than Matlock deserved as several near-misses and scrambles had already taken place.

Their lead was increased shortly after when a hit out from the back found Nina Smedley on the wing at the halfway line. She then found Sarah Joyce and received the ball back to continue her run into the circle, pass the ball for Claire Stevenson to score from a simple tap-in.

Direct and quick passing meant from one end of the pitch to the other took less than ten seconds for the goal to be scored. Belper scored a goal when Matlock’s defence allowed their only attack of the half to result in a softly conceded goal.

Supremacy was restored in the second half although it didn’t have quite as much free flowing moves as the first half. Midfield trio Ruth Whittaker, Jill Beacham and Rebecca Mead stopped Belper from gaining any momentum.

Olivia Rafferty, against her old club, showed good determination and interceptions at the back, and had her best game in Matlock colours.

Sarah Joyce scored Matlock’s last two goals. Her close control led to her first and a right wing cross supplied by Jill Beacham, rolling back the years, finished off the scoring.

Man of the match went to Ruth Whittaker for her display at left midfield, showing her versatility, switching from her normal defensive position.

Matlock can be encouraged from their start to the New Year, but know they will face tougher opposition when league matches recommence at the end of January.