Pre-season friendly: Matlock Town 3 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Matlock Manager Mark Atkins gives the thumbs up during his sides home fixture against Chorley by Tina Jenner
Matlock Manager Mark Atkins gives the thumbs up during his sides home fixture against Chorley by Tina Jenner

The Gladiators came out of the traps with lightening pace to score twice in the opening six minutes and set up a comfortable home pre season win against a youthful Owls outfit at the Autoworld Arena.

Strikers Danny Holland and Leon Osborne were both on target as Matlock threatened to rack up a sizable sack load of goals, but after no further addition to the score before the interval,

Wednesday made a better fist of the second half to half their deficit on 63 minutes through Mani Dieseruvwe, only for Oscar Radford to restore the hosts’ two goal advantage ninety seconds later.

While the win will give Matlock confidence, perhaps onlookers should not read too much into the result against a nervous Wednesday, but nevertheless, apart from a scrappy opening twenty minutes to the second period, Town generally performed well.

Holland pounced when Osborne quickly took a throw on the right to feed the again impressive Jason Stokes whose low centre was tucked away by last season’s top scorer from eight yards.

Dieseruvwe drove wide from distance after Martin Foster had surrendered possession but Matlock swept swiftly upfield for Holland to turn provider, his accurate pass finding Osborne to slide a low effort beyond hapless goalkeeper Cameron Dawson.

Defensively Wednesday were all over the place but by more luck than judgement they held on as the Gladiators, playing with two tricky wide men in Stokes and Lavell White, kept driving forward.

But Wednesday nearly found a way back on 20 minutes when Jon Kennedy slipped as he dealt with David Haggerty’s back pass, only to recover magnificently to block Franck Betra’s shot before the striker’s follow up was scrambled away for a corner.

Stokes played in some quality crosses which had Wednesday reeling and with Phil Roe and Joe Leesley supporting dangerously from full back positions, more goals looked like coming Matlock’s way.

Dieseruvwe was more than happy to profit from what looked like a foul on Foster which referee Nigel Smith failed to spot, his low shot taking a deflection before trundling its way beyond Kennedy’s dive to his right and low just inside a post.

Leesley drove a yard too high after a neat Matlock move but the Gladiators soon forced a corner, taken by Stokes, his superb delivery being glanced home by Radford.

The succession of substitutes saw the game lose its shape with Wednesday perhaps coming closest to the fifth goal of the contest as Kennedy stood his ground to block Ryan Croasdale’s low shot with his legs.

But there was no doubt that Matlock were worthy winners in a game where fitness levels were undoubtedly improved and new players Osborne and Stokes fitted neatly into the shape of the team.

MATLOCK: Kennedy, Roe (Gregory 66), Leesley, Foster (Brook 72), Haggerty (Yates 61), Radford, Needham (Freeman 80), Stokes (Andrews 80), Holland (Hewitt 70), Osborne (Snodin 80), White (Harcourt 58).

Subs not used: Leese.

WEDNESDAY: Dawson, Young, Floro, Lokko, Sanders (Beatson 61), Croasdale, Stobbs (Duffy 27 (Beresford 72), Hanna, Betra, Dieseruvwa, Penney.

Subs not used: Foster, Wildsmith, Law.

Referee: Mr N Smith (Chesterfield)

Attendance: 237