Matlock Town Reserves are now 15 points clear at the top of the Central Midlands League Supreme Division after a 3-1 win at third-placed Dunkirk on Saturday.
A brace from Jack Siddall and one goal from Dave Edge saw off the hosts at the Ron Steel Sports Ground, maintaining Matlock’s unbeaten record.
Two minutes in, a Dunkirk inswinging corner was met with a powerful header and Marco Taaffe reacted to palm the ball away with Phil Griffiths on hand to clear the lines.
After the early wake-up call the Gladiators could have taken the lead when Siddall sent Edge through on goal, but after skipping round the Dunkirk custodian he was crowded out by defenders.
The same pair combined 15 minutes later to give Matlock a fortuitous lead. A high ball was flicked on by Edge to Siddall who immediately let fly from 25 yards out. To the Dunkirk keeper’s dismay the ball squirmed out of his hands and over the line.
With the Gladiators now in the ascendency, following a pacey run from Ollie Walden the ball found its way to Dec Jenkins just inside the area. His shot seemed destined for the corner but the keeper pulled off a fine save to his left.
As half-time approached a lack of concentration gave Dunkirk the equaliser with the ball somehow finding a way over the line at the near post straight from a corner.
On 69 minutes Siddall drove the ball into the near post from just outside the box, but it was a calamity for the keeper again as the ball found a way through his hands and into the net.
Ten minutes later it was game over as Siddall picked the ball up wide left and crossed for Edge to head the ball home.
The young Gladiators’ next opponents are MRA Premier outfit and near neighbours Cromford in the DCFA Divisional Cup semi-final on Saturday at the Autoworld Arena, kick-off 3pm.