Matlock Town 4, Chorley 0
Nathan Joynes’ first Matlock hat-trick was the icing on a very tasty cake as the Gladiators thrashed table topping Chorley with a fine all round team display.
It was just what manager Mark Atkins had demanded and was probably expecting.
Some slight tinkering of his line up saw Atkins bring in Oscar Radford at full back on a month’s loan from Doncaster Rovers.
Ben Algar played on the left flank with Joynes partnering Ian Holmes in attack. Both TJ Nightingale and Kris Bowler had to be content with places on the substitutes’ bench.
The opening exchanges were even and Chorley were given no hint of the carnage to come their way. Algar cut in from the left to fire firmly at goalkeeper Russ Saunders in the 5th minute. Chorley’s response was to win a corner which James Lukic headed out and Steve Flitcroft, brother of manager Gary saw his follow up effort charged down. Gareth Davies then did likewise to stop a shot from visiting skipper Andy Teague.
Liam King’s drive was deflected wide, the referee amazing everyone with the award of a goal kick, before on 27 minutes a marvellously struck free kick from Chris Bettney flashed inches past Saunders’ right hand post.
Matlock were starting to boss the midfield, but from their one slack moment of the afternoon, Shelton Payne broke quickly and shot a yard wide from the edge of the 18-yard area.
Bettney had better luck just four minutes later. Having swapped wings with Algar, King found him on the left, some 25 yards out. The winger cut in to shoot deliciously into the opposite corner.
Bettney was at the heart of the move which saw Town double their lead in the 36th minute. He took a free kick quickly and found Joynes with his usual unerring accuracy. The finish was masterful as Joynes sweetly volleyed in from ten yards.
Three minutes into the second half, a finely tuned build-up came to a thrilling climax as Micky Harcourt found Joynes who turned sweetly to fire low into the opposite corner.
The league leaders fell futher behind with 25 minutes remaining. Algar found Joynes who had far too much time and space to fire clinically beyond Saunders.
The hat-trick hero came off after being harshly booked under the totting up procedure for backing into a defender and was was afforded huge applause.
The fans inevitably asked “can we play you every week?” as they celebrated Matlock’s best performance of the season and for some time.
Matlock: Kennedy, Harcourt, Radford, King, Yates, Lukic, Bettney (Bowler 79), Joynes (Nightingale 76), Holmes, Davies, (Hunter 86), Algar. Unused subs: Knowles, Buxton.