Matlock were simply blown away in a devastating opening 23 minute spell when Worksop built up a staggering five goal lead.
Gladiators fans who ventured to Sandy Lane last Saturday must have been fearing a record club NPL defeat, which currently stands at 8-0 at Chorley on the opening day of the 1971/72 campaign.
Fortunately Matlock rallied and they had to. They had been ripped apart by a combination of blistering pace, excellent build up play, first class workrate and a never say die attitude.
Sure there was extenuating circumstances but even so, a defeat of this magnitude, and it could have been worse, is not acceptable.
Adam Yates was named in the side but could not play due to a back injury sustained in the pre match warm up, so Laurence Gaughan came in for his first league start of the season at right back.
Gaughan looked rusty and Worksop soon noticed this and exploited it to the full. In fact Worksop were devastating down both flanks playing a brand of football seldom seen in this division.
The rout began after only five minutes. Jon Kennedy dived full length to push away a Leon Mettam free kick for a corner but centre half Luke Shiels rose highest to head in the flag kick.
The Sandy Lane pitch had survived two inspections but was playing surprisingly well and Worksop made light of the conditions to hit Matlock with four more quickfire goals.
On eight minutes, Ash Burbeary netted the first of his hat-trick. created by the surging run and shot from full back Ryan Clarke which deflected to the winger who crashed an unstoppable shot past Kennedy.
Three minutes later Gareth Davies was helped off with an ankle injury after a midfield clash to bring on Bradley Grayson who looked lively on the right flank.
But Matlock were soon in even deeper strife. A brilliant move on 16 minutes saw giant striker Tom Denton flick a header into co-striker Leon Mettam who turned superbly to feed Burbeary who buried the chance with aplomb.
Burbeary’s hat-trick was completed as early as the 18th minute, as he sent Kennedy the wrong way from the penalty spot after Mettam went down under challenge from Phil Roe.
A nailed on spot kick when Gaughan tangled with Burbeary was turned down by the referee but it was soon five when Matlock lost possession in the Tigers half.
The ball wasplayed swiftly and smoothly towards Mettam who sent Burbeary scampering beyond Gaughan and the winger served Mettam the chance on a plate to sidefoot home. It was all too easy for Worksop.
At least Matlock rallied and Grayson shot into the sidenetting on the half hour and the visitors at last exerted some pressure.
Worksop did benefit from the run of the ball on a number of occasions, but probably they deserved that, given their industry.
One such instance came on 40 minutes when a James Lukic strike deflected off Lewis McMahon and looked to be heading over the line until Clarke popped up to hack the ball clear.
There was a chink of hope for Matlock a minute before half time when Jacob Hazel broke clear, only to be pulled back by home skipper Stuart Ludlam who was correctly shown the red card.
With the words of manager Mark Atkins ringing in their ears, Matlock were out early for the second half, having also brought on Joe Leesley for Glyn Cotton. Worksop adapted to Ludlam’s dismissal by sacrificing Mettam for midfielder Matty Young.
McMahon reduced the deficit six minutes in when Kern Miller misjudged a through pass leaving the leading Gladiators scorer to shoot firmly beyond goalkeeper Paul Bastock.
Worksop’s veteran number one then was off the mark quickly to block superbly from Hazel and a fine challenge by Steve Towers denied Grayson who looked destined to score at the far post.
James Ashmore then floated a free kick disappointingly over the top before Leesley, McMahon and Lukic failed to make the most of promising situations.
But the hosts always looked comfortable because of the size of Matlock’s task and they helped themselves to a sixth goal when Denton nodded in a Burbeary cross from close range in the 67th minute.
It was an afternoon to forget for Matlock and an awful way to end 2012. They had been outplayed in every department, but they will not play teams of Worksop’s quality every week and it was a day when nearly everything went right for the victors.
MATLOCK TOWN: Jon Kennedy, Laurence Gaughan (Lee Ellington 63), Phil Roe, Martin Foster, Oscar Radford, James Lukic, Jacob Hazel, James Ashmore, Glyn Cotton (Joe Leesley 46), Lewis McMahon, Gareth Davies (Bradley Grayson 11).
Subs not used: Nick Buxton.
Referee: D Plowright (Clipstone).
Star man: Bradley Grayson.