Acrobatic Leesley hits winner

Matlock Town striker Joe Leesley in action in their opening match against Nantwich Town at the Reynolds Stadium.
Matlock Town striker Joe Leesley in action in their opening match against Nantwich Town at the Reynolds Stadium.

Frickley Athletic 1, Matlock Town 2

After Saturday’s opening day humiliation at home to Nantwich, Matlock got the result they wanted, but they left it late.

Trailing to Jimmy Ghiachem’s 21st minute strike, the Gladiators made their travelling fans wait until the 80th minute for their first goal of the season, and then they promptly doubled their tally three minutes later.

Lewis McMahon netted from the penalty spot for the equaliser before Joe Leesley’s first competitive goal saw Matlock snatch the points.

The away day monkey was also off their backs as Matlock won their first competitive game on the road since 3 September 2011.

Frickley drew firsat blood when the ball was hoisted forward and Ghiachiem found space to beat Kennedy from 20 yards, the ball striking the base of the post on its goalbound journey.

Ellington wasted a free kick when Martin Foster was brought down 20 yards from goal, hoisting his effort high over the bar. Midfielder Foster, named as captain, then drove towards goal but a deflection took the pace off the ball leaving Woodhead with a straightforward stop.

A Luke Jeffs piledriver flew too high but Frickley began to labour and one foul tackle too many proved to be their undoing when Scott Helliwell sent Leesley sprawling in the box. It was a stonewall penalty and McMahon showed no mercy sending Woodhead the wrong way with a crisp finish.

McMahon drove at the goalkeeper as Matlock suddenly had a spring in their step and they turned the game on its head with a brilliantly taken Leesley winner. Ryan Hindley kept his head to find the 18-year-old whose acrobatic finish was clinical.

So Matlock did it the hard way but they’re off the mark and after Tuesday’s results had jumped from bottom to 11th. But they know there is plenty of hard graft to come in a testing August Bank Holiday programme.

Matlock: Kennedy, Yates, Featherstone, Foster, Laight, Foster, Grayson (Hindley 64), Ashmore (Bowler 8), Ellington, McMahon, Leesley (Roe 86). Other subs: Kris Witcombe, Nick Buxton.

Attendance: 250.